Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday phoned Daniel Knoll, the son of Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor who was stabbed to death in her Paris home last month, in a vicious allegedly anti-Semitic attack.
“The people of Israel and the State of Israel embrace you,” Netanyahu told Daniel Knoll, offering his condolences. “This was a shocking murder. The story of your dear mother, taken so cruelly, is a reminder to us that the struggles of our people are still ahead,” the prime minister said.
Prosecutors have filed preliminary charges against two people for murder with anti-Semitic motives in Knoll’s slaying, including a neighbor Knoll had hosted regularly, according to her son.
Authorities have not released the names of the two men in custody, but have said the chief suspect is a 29-year-old with a past conviction who lived in the same building as Knoll.
On Friday, President Reuven Rivlin sent a letter to the Knoll family, offering condolences.
“On behalf of all of Israel, I send our sincere condolences,” Rivlin wrote. “The fact that this terrible incident took place merely two weeks before the date when we mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and mourn the victims compounds the heartbreak.”
The president went on to express worry over “increasing anti-Semitic attacks throughout Europe,” a phenomenon that he linked to “rising support for parties that fly a banner of racism.”
Mireille Knoll was forced to flee Paris with her family at age 9 to escape a notorious World War II roundup of Jews. After the war, she returned to Paris and spent most of her life in the eastern Paris apartment where she was killed, according to her son.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum urged French and European officials to “redouble efforts to combat the rise in anti-Semitism plaguing much of the continent.”
On Wednesday, thousands of people — Jews, Muslims and politicians on the left and right — joined in a march from the Place de la Nation to Knoll’s Paris apartment, where she was stabbed to death and burned, and her home set ablaze. The tribute was one of many held throughout the day in cities across France to honor Knoll and denounce racism.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.