Sadly, shockingly, tributes to two of the people discussed in Stories that Move have been physically attacked in the past two weeks; Ilan Halimi and Simone Veil were both targets of antisemitic hate crimes. Their biographies are part of Learning path 3, Life stories.
Ilan Halimi was a young French mobile phone salesman from a Moroccan-Jewish family who was tortured to death over three weeks in 2006 by a criminal gang that believed âthe Jewsâ had money and would pay up. Ilan was eventually dumped, dying, by a railway line in Paris. Two days before the anniversary of his murder this month, a tree planted in his memory there was chopped down.
The same week the tree was vandalised in Paris, swastikas were also scrawled over posters celebrating Simone Veil, a Jewish lawyer and Holocaust survivor who became the first president of the European Parliament. She was Franceâs first female cabinet minister and a pioneer of womenâs rights who fought for and won a law legalising abortion.
The Stories that Move online tool encourages learners to reflect on positive achievements in addressing discrimination as well as things that havenât changed. They pick a life story and are asked: what is the significance of this life story today? Sadly, the attacks on the memorials to Ilan and Simone, and other recent antisemitic incidents in France and elsewhere, reveal a clear link to the world our learners must navigate todayÂ â and the importance of discussing all forms of hate speech around us and the need to speak out against it.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has now planted a new tree to commemorate Ilan, in the city park that bears his name. âWe will fight,â she said. (âNous resistons, nous nous projetons et nous allons combattre.â)
Simone in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2005, to commemorate the liberation of the camp in 1945. Â© ANP, The Netherlands
Flyer Federation Internationale des Juifs Noires. Â© CRIF, France.back to top