24 Days: The Kidnapping and Murder of Ilan Halimi by Ruth Halimi, Émilie Frèche

24 Days: The Kidnapping and Murder of Ilan Halimi by Ruth Halimi, Émilie Frèche

On January 20, 2006, Ilan Halimi, chosen because he was Jewish, was kidnapped and taken to an apartment in Bagneux, France. He was held and tortured there for more than three weeks before being thrown into the woods by his executioners.

In this shattering memoir, originally published in French, Ilan’s mother recalls the 24 days of this nightmare during which she received more than 600 phone calls, ransom demands that constantly changed, insults, threats, and pictures of her tortured son. Police procedures repeatedly failed.

Ruth’s intuition and her own quiet inquiries led to a fuller truth behind her son’s mysterious disappearance. As other attempted kidnappings in France came to light, Ruth realized what these cases have in common: All the intended victims were Jewish, and the motive was violent anti-Semitic hatred, not just money.

A starkly candid retelling of the 2006 kidnapping and murder in what became known in France as the Halimi Affair, 24 Days is a wake-up call to the growing scourge of anti-Semitism, extremism and hate around the world. It is also a single mother’s cri de coeur against the evil forces of hate that led to her son’s horrific kidnapping, torture and death in one of the most infamous cases involving anti-Semitism in French society since the notorious Dreyfus Affair a century earlier.

The English edition – a joint publication of Behrman House and the Anti-Defamation League – includes a new foreword and modern-day news vignettes to remind readers of how anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have had deadly consequences in America as well.

Year first published: 2020

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