PARIS (Sep. 17)
The widow of a Jewish man whose body was disinterred in 1990 by five skinheads was attacked and beaten by an unidentified man.
The incident occurred this week after she publicly rejected an apology from one of the vandals responsible for the cemetery desecration.
Magdeleine Germon, 86, was hospitalized with head injuries after a young man, posing as a mail carrier, entered her apartment.
After threatening to kill her, he beat and attempted to suffocate her before fleeing when neighbors were alerted by her screams.
The day before, Germon had appeared on television to say she would not forgive Bertrand Nouveau, one of four former neo-Nazis who confessed to removing the body of her husband, Felix Germon, from his grave in the Jewish cemetery in the southern town of Carpentras in 1990.
From his prison cell, where he has been held since his arrest in August, Nouveau expressed his apologies to Germon and to “the entire Jewish population,” saying that he had been influenced by the “hateful and xenophobic stance” of the extreme-right National Front.
It was unclear whether the attack on Germon was motivated by the cemetery desecration or by her televised comments.
“I have received threats, and so has she, by telephone or in the mail,” said Germon’s lawyer, Jean-Marc Fedida, who added that the threats had increased since the skinheads’ arrests, which ended a six-year investigation.
The arrests came after four of the five neo-Nazi skinheads confessed in August to the May 1990 desecration of the Carpentras cemetery. The fifth member of the group was said to have died in a motorcycle accident.
The four said they had desecrated 34 graves and disinterred Felix Germon’s body to pay tribute to Adolf Hitler and to mark the anniversary of Germany’s surrender, May 8, 1945.
The desecration caused an uproar in France and sent 100,000 people, including then-president Francois Mitterrand, to voice their outrage in a mass demonstration.