Fourteen years ago, 23 year-old Ilan Halimi was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in Paris by a gang who believed that ‘all Jews have money’.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe awarded the 2020 Ilan Halimi prize during a ceremony at the Hotel Matignon marking the anniversary of his death.
The prize was created in the memory of Halimi and rewards initiatives launched by youths under 25 that contribute to the fight against antisemitism.
During the ceremony, Philippe warned against the spread of antisemitic stereotypes, saying that those ideas can lead to actions, as it was the case for Ilan’s death.
Among the initiatives selected was Vitrollywood which was launched by the Vatos Locos organization from Vitrolles, in the south of France. Through the project, young people create videos promoting the fight against discriminations.
“Ilan Halimi has become a symbol, a symbol that this must never happen again,” said Myriam, one of the project members, in a video shared by Phillipe.
“With our movies, we try to reduce stereotypes and to avoid that kind of dramatic events,” she added.
This is the second year the prize is awarded. In 2019, the award was given to Dijon High School students who jointly created a project about genocide in the 20th century.
This year, Halimi’s mother, Ruth was not present at the prize awarding ceremony. Novelist Emilie Frèche, who presided over of the jury, explained that she did not attend following a court’s decision to not prosecute the man who killed Sarah Halimi in 2017 in another brutal antisemitic incident. The two families are not related to each other.
In recent years, France has witnessed a wave of antisemitic crimes.
After Ilan’s murder in 2006, a teacher and three pupils were shot at the Otzar HaTorah school in Toulouse in 2012. Four were killed in the attack on the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris in 2015 and Sarah Halimi in 2017.