(JTA) — The investigation into the suspected murder of a Holocaust survivor in her Paris apartment has not revealed anti-Semitic motivations, a community watchdog said.
A spokesperson for SPCJ, the official monitor and security unit of the French Jewish community, told this to the 7sur7 news website late Sunday in connection with the stabbing of Mirelle Kanol, 85, at her home Friday.
“A preliminary examination of the elements of the crime does not reveal an anti-Semitic characteristic, but this possibility has not been discounted as police investigate further,” the SPCJ spokesperson said.
Kanol escaped the Velodrome d’Hiver roundup of Jews by French police for their deportation to death camps and murder by the Nazis.
Police have a suspect, a 29-year-old man, in custody in connection with her death.
According to the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, the octogenarian’s body was set on fire Friday night. Her charred body also had at least 11 stab wounds.
A forensic examination of the apartment showed that an arsonist started a fire in at least five distinct areas of the space, the report also said.
“The barbarity of this murder sends us back to that of Sarah Halimi just one year ago,” Francis Kalifat, president of the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities, said in a statement Monday.
Prosecutors say Halimi, a 66-year-old Jewish teacher and physician, was murdered by her Muslim neighbor in April partly in connection with her Jewish identity. Anti-Semitism was included in the indictment against Halimi’s suspected killer, Kobili Traore, 28, after CRIF and BNVCA vocally protested its absence from the draft document.
“CRIF expects total transparency in the current investigation, so that the motives for this barbaric crime are known of all as fast as possible,” Kalifat added in the statement about Kanol.
A granddaughter of Kanol, Noa Goldfarb, wrote on Facebook that her grandmother was murdered by a neighbor who is a Muslim.
“Twenty years ago, I left Paris knowing that neither my future nor that of the Jewish People is to be found there,” wrote Goldfarb, who lives in Herzliya, Israel. “But who would’ve thought that I was leaving my relatives where terrorism and cruelty would lead to such a tragedy. Grandmother was stabbed to death 11 times by a Muslim neighbor she knew well, who made sure to set fire to her home and left us not even one object, a letter, a photograph, to remember her by. All we have are our tears and each other.”