Simon Wiesenthal Center Statement on Murderous Outrage at Jewish Day School in France

March 19, 2012

“All the House of Israel mourns the anti-Semitic murders of a Jewish teacher, his two small children, and another ten-year old child who were gunned down outside of a Jewish day school in Toulouse, France this morning,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

“Dr. Shimon Samuels, Simon Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relations, who is based in Paris, is closely monitoring developments in France as authorities strive to identify the perpetrator and apprehend all those involved in this heinous crime,” Rabbi Hier said, adding, "In light of the incessant anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric worldwide, we urge that all Jewish institutions review their security procedures in conjunction with local law enforcement.”


French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Speech Delivered in Toulouse

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today is a day of national tragedy – because children have been murdered in cold blood, because a killer entered a school, a school of the Jewish faith. This tragedy devastates the entire national community. I’ve asked the Minister for National Education for a minute’s silence to be organized tomorrow in all schools, in memory of these martyred children.

The Interior Minister will stay as long as necessary in Toulouse – where reinforcements are going to arrive during the day, in agreement with the authorities, particularly the Mayor – until we know who this killer is and the exact links with the tragedy that hit the military community, with young soldiers already killed in Montauban and Toulouse, one West Indian, two of the Muslim faith. We’re struck by the similarity of how today’s tragedy and those of last week occurred, but we must wait for more detailed evidence from the forensic police to confirm that theory.

In any case, caution is the rule. Jewish schools, Muslim schools in Toulouse and the region will be very closely monitored, places of worship will be very closely monitored and soldiers have received instructions to be cautious.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a tragedy. Everything must be done to ensure the killeris arrested and held accountable for his crimes, so there are no more victims. But at the same time, our schools must continue to operate, and our compatriots who want to worship in synagogues, in mosques and in churches must be able to continue doing so. We mustn’t give in to terror.

And of course, our thoughts go out to those shattered families. To the mother who at that moment lost two of her children and her husband, on the same day. To the head teacher who saw his little girl die before his eyes.

Barbarism, savagery and cruelty cannot win. Hatred cannot win. The Republic is much stronger than all that. Much stronger.

So I ask you all, of course, for remembrance, grief, solidarity with the victims, calm and confidence in the institutions of the Republic to find the man who did this. We’re going to find him. A lot of caution and a lot of solidarity.

Thank you to the elected representatives, the Mayor, the regional president and the departmental president. I also want to thank the President of theConsistory, Joël Mergui, and the president of the CRIF [Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France], Richard Prasquier, for accompanying me, and to tell all the authorities of the Jewish communities in Toulouse and the region how close we feel to them.

This murder doesn’t concern only the Jewish community: the whole national community is devastated and stands alongside you. Believe me, you can be sure of this.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).