French Jewry in the Shadow of Kristallnacht

November 5, 2023

Paris - Dr. Shimon Samuels, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, has tabulated the number of antisemitic acts in France until 3 November.
In less than 4 weeks since Hamas’ 7 October terror attack against Israel and its people, there have been 887 antisemitic incidents (more than double the number for 2022) and 442 arrests in France. Of these, 257 antisemitic acts occurred in Paris and its suburbs, where about 90 suspects were arrested.

Cases included:

- A Jewish woman was stabbed on Friday in Lyon, upon opening her door. The perpetrator in black clothes then scratched a Swastika on her front door;

- Harassment through social media and phone calls. This has been particularly painful for young Jewish students, targeted in school or on campus by antisemitic posts;

- Insults and threats against Jewish individuals or entire families. For example, a young girl at a bus stop, her aggressors threatening: “Dirty bitch, we will slit your throat!”;

- The demonstrative tearing down of "Free the Hostages" posters. This act implies a dehumanizing contempt for Jewish lives;

- Shops and businesses tagged with the Star of David;

- Jewish homes have been checked-out for Mezuzot on door-posts, then the buildings tagged with stencilled Stars of David. This happened in several towns and villages, but also in Paris (at at least 40 different locations) and in half a dozen surrounding municipalities.
While authorities have paid attention, they are well aware that it is not enough.
Our Centre urges the following:

- Armed military personnel should return to protect Jewish schools, synagogues and institutions, as under former President Hollande;

- More CCTV cameras must be places in and around Jewish cemeteries and neighbourhoods, to avoid a resurgence of urban vandalism and the macabre defiling of corpses;

- A new 24/7 speed-dial system must be made available for Jews, to alert and get a rapid response to aggressions or break-ins;

- Elderly Jews living in dangerous districts should be offered an alternative relocation to more secure areas.

We appeal to Prime Minister, Madam Elisabeth Borne, and Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, to consider these and other approaches, for the safety and wellbeing of Jews living in France.

On the other hand, Madam Catherine Colonna, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, on the 9th of November will be leading a EU initiative to stress humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza. While Hamas is seen as violating Gaza's citizens, the meeting will however focus on violations of human rights attributed to Israel.

Such will certainly raise even more acute antisemitism in France and across Europe.

For further information contact Dr. Shimon Samuels at, join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations 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).

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