Published on 28 January 2021

Crif - Remembering Ilan Halimi

This year marks the 15th sad anniversary of the beginning of Ilan Halimi's kidnapping. Every year, the Crif remembers Ilan Halimi, who died because he was a Jew. We should never forget and never surrender to antisemitism.

It should be a date like any other. There should be no mention of drama on January 20. The time should pass normally. Why is it that with each of our sufferings our hairs must stand on end? Why does it take an inner doorbell to wake us up? Why do we have to feel such a deep unease then? Why do we suddenly have to remember that the miserable, the mad, the obsessed, the little ones and the wicked want us dead?



On January 20, 2006, Ilan Halimi met in the evening with the young Emma, ​​who approached him three days earlier in the telephone store where he was performing a replacement. The minor is bait "hired" by a criminal, whose plan is to kidnap a Jew "because they are stuffed with money." Emma leads Ilan into the basement of a building in Sceaux. There, his accomplices neutralize him, then take him to an empty apartment in Bagneux. During the following weeks, Ilan is tortured. On January 21, the criminal sends a photo of Ilan to his family from an internet cafe, in which the young man appears threatened by a pistol. He demands a ransom of 450,000 euros.

On February 13, at 5 a.m., the gang saw their leader driving away in a stolen car. His hostage is in the safe. Later, a passer-by in a car spots Ilan lying along a railway track in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois. He is naked, handcuffed and gagged. His body is covered with burns. He died during his transfer to hospital.

It had to be a day like any other for Ilan, it had to be a day like any other for his parents and family. It had to be a day like any other for all of us. But, like all the fateful dates which strike our conscience, which disturb our sleep, which come to awaken eternal fears, we know, we understand, we remember that we can kill a human being simply ... because he is a Jew.
In a normal world, this should not be possible. It could not be possible. But, we don't live in a normal world. In a normal world consciousness should wake up, it should not be possible to forget. We should form a chain of solidarity and brotherhood. But, we don't live in a normal world.
For the French Jews, these dates are an indelible task. We will not erase it from our memory, because we understand that antisemitism in the 21st century can still kill.
Marc Knobel