TOULOUSE (Jan. 31)
Roger Allouche, a 14-year-old Jewish schoolboy who died last week of injuries believed to have been inflicted by fellow students at the Catholic school he attended, was buried here today as investigations were pressed in several quarters to determine whether the assault on him was motivated by anti-Semitism. An investigation was begun by local authorities after a second autopsy, performed at the request of the boy’s parents, confirmed their suspicion that he was the victim of a beating and did not die of natural causes which was the determination of the first autopsy.
The investigation has been joined by the Conseil Representatif des Israelites de France (CRIF), which dispatched a special attorney from Paris to observe the police investigation and by the International League Against Anti-Semitism (LICA), which sent two representatives to Toulouse today to conduct a separate investigation. LICA declared it was deeply disturbed by the case.
The MRAP, a left-wing organization in Paris is not waiting for the outcome of the inquiry. In a statement Issued today it called the boy’s death “racial murder” and accused the St. Nicholas School, a Jesuit institution where young Allouche had been a student for five years of being “anti-Semitic.” The local Jewish community, where tensions are reportedly running high, has called upon the local authorities to “shed all possible light” on the incident, and to ascertain its real causes. There are some 18,000 Jews in this city of a total population of some 269,000.
ANTI-SEMITISM CHARGE DENIED.
The funeral this afternoon was attended by huge crowds including schoolmates of the dead boy, teachers and members of the Jewish community who marched behind the coffin in a cold rain. A wreath was laid on the grave by classmates and teachers. The principal of St. Nicholas, Jean Roux, defended the school against charges of anti-Semitism and said he held no anti-Jewish or racial feelings.
He reminded local organizations and the press that he and his parents were responsible for saving the lives of countless Jewish children by hiding them in their home during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II. But Roux conceded that an anti-Semitic incident occurred last year and it was that incident that aroused the suspicions of Roger Allouche’s parents when the principal told them their son had died of natural causes after a fainting spell.
The incident involved Roger’s English teacher who allegedly called the boy a “dirty Jew” during an argument. The boy protested and was supported by his entire class and by the faculty. “The teacher apologized in public and was reprimanded,” Roux said. He stated that at the time he suggested to the boy’s father to consider changing schools but the boy himself chose to remain. Catholic schools, known in France as “free schools” in contrast to schools run by the State are highly regarded for scholastic excellence and for that reason many Jewish parents send their children to these schools in preference to the available Jewish schools or the normal State-run institutions.
Friends of Roger Allouche described him as a bright boy but hot tempered which, they said, might be a non-racial clue to the assault on him. The official results of the second autopsy have not been disclosed. But the pathologist who performed the post mortem unofficially told the boy’s father, who is the owner of a pub, that his son “did not die of natural causes.” The boy’s body was reportedly covered with bruises, leading some to see this as evidence of a severe beating.