Published on 8 October 2020

Crif - The testimony of Francis Kalifat at Hypercacher's terrorist attack trial

On Wednesday September 23, several associations, part of the civil claimants, gave their testimonies to the Court. Among them, Francis Kalifat, Crif President, who delivered a strong message.

Trial of the January 2015 attacks - Testimony of Francis Kalifat, 23 September 2020


"SEBASTIEN SELLAM 23 years old, assassinated on November 20, 2003 in the parking lot of his building

ILAN HALIMI 24 years old, kidnapped and murdered on February 13, 2006, between Bagneux and Sainte Geneviève des Bois


JONATHAN SANDLER 30 years old, murdered with his two children GABRIEL 3 years old and ARIE 6 years old, March 19, 2012

MYRIAM MOSENEGO 8 years old, murdered on March 19, 2012

All four victims of the terrorist attack on the OZAR HATORAH school in Toulouse


YOHAN COHEN 20, assassinated on January 9, 2015

YOAV HATTAB 22 years old, assassinated on January 9, 2015

PHILIPPE BRAHAM 46 years old, assassinated on January 9, 2015

FRANCOIS MICHEL SAADA 64 years old, assassinated on January 9, 2015

All four taken hostage and murdered while shopping at the Hypercacher.


SARAH ATTAL-HALIMI 62 years old, tortured, defenestrated and murdered on April 4, 2017 at her home in Paris.

MIREILLE KNOLL 86 years old, tortured and murdered on March 23, 2018 at her home in Paris.


Here, Mr. President, are the names of these 12 French men, women, children and old people murdered since the beginning of the 2000s in our country for the sole reason that they were JEWS.

In this litany of names of victims of killing anti-Semitism and Islamist terrorism, every fate is singular.

Every broken life is an injunction to remember.

These names and faces inhabit my mind every day.

And this nagging question,

Why ? Why have we failed to protect them?

What should we have done to protect them?

Mr. President, Members of the Court, I often wonder how the last eight years would have been if we had learned in France the lessons of the Montauban and the Ozar Hatorah school attacks in Toulouse.

Too many French people have not heard that the Islamist ideology which armed the mind and the arm of the terrorist, would then arm those of Charlie, Montrouge, Hypercacher and later Bataclan, Nice, Strasbourg and of so many others in France.

Why did we waste these precious years to become aware of this phenomenon?

I cannot bring myself to believe that the fact that the victims were Jewish could explain this willful blindness.

How many were we in the street on this evening of March 19, 2012?

Little! Too little considering the gravity of an act unprecedented in the recent history of our country.

I retain the bitter taste of a society then deaf to the cries of the hearts of French Jews and those who by their side understood that this was only the first act in a long series.

My deep concern is as a citizen, because I fear that this hatred and this violence will end up weakening the adhesion to the values ​​which make France.

Because while anti-Semitism begins with the Jews, it never ends with the Jews.

Our country is now affected by the terrorist attacks of Charlie Hebdo, Montrouge and the anti-Semitic crimes of the Hypercacher, and that is a good thing, but French Jews have suffered for years often with indifference.

In 2020, as in previous years, French Jews were insulted, harassed, threatened, robbed, assaulted or beaten for being Jews.

Words are terrible, but say nothing about the lives of the victims of everyday anti-Semitism, which strikes these difficult neighborhoods, these "lost territories of the Republic".

I often describe the entrenched life of these French Jews who suffer from insults, spitting, graffiti, anonymous letters and torn mezuzot, when it is not physical violence.

Many analyzes have been devoted to it. They all form a vice.

And we French Jews are inside this vice that crushes and hurts us.

Yes it hurts when you are caught between traditional anti-Semitism overrepresented on the far right and anti-Zionist anti-Semitism overrepresented on the far left.

Yes, it hurts when you are caught between the anti-Semitism of some of the young Muslims aged 15 to 25, and the status of preferred target of Islamist terrorism.

Since the Hypercacher attack, none of the surviving victims have been able to resume a normal life after the ordeal they experienced. Since those painful times no Jew in France has been able to shop, attend synagogue, or drop children off at school, unaware that he is a target. Since this attack every Jew lives today in this terrible status of potential victim of Islamist terrorism.

Mr. President, this is also what your Court must rule on.

The victims, France and the French Jews need this trial because, beyond the trial of the defendants in the box, there must be the trial of killing anti-Semitism, the trial of anti-Semitism which killed 12 French people Jews, the trial of anti-Semitism which, 75 years after the Shoah, can still kill men, women and children just because they are Jews."