Samuel Sandler, an emblematic figure in the memory of the victims of Mohammed Merah, died Friday of a heart attack at the age of 77, announced the president of the Central Consistory, Elie Korchia, who was also his lawyer.

“I learn with infinite sadness of the death of my friend Samuel Sandler, who was a mensch [an exemplary man] and worked tirelessly to keep alive the memory of his son Jonathan and his grandsons Arié and Gabriel, victims of terrorism Islamist,” he wrote on X.

On March 19, 2012, in front of the Otzar-Hatorah school in Toulouse, Mohammed Merah murdered Jonathan Sandler, 30, a theology professor, his sons Arié and Gabriel, aged 5 and 3, and the daughter of the director of the establishment, Myriam Monsonégo, 8 years old.

“Symbol of resilience and dignity”

The 23-year-old radicalized offender, who murdered seven people in total, was killed three days later by RAID.

“Since this carnage, I have lived under anesthesia, like a ghost. Their absence haunts me,” said Samuel Sandler, in March 2022, during a tribute to the victims. He then estimated that “the war” against his own people, the Jews, “never stopped”.

Julien Charles, prefect of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, expressed his “emotion” while that of Yvelines, Jean-Jacques Brot, saluted his memory. “Samuel Sandler will forever be engraved as a symbol of resilience and dignity, in the face of the cowardly cruelty that affected his family in Toulouse on March 19, 2012,” says Karl Olive, MP for Yvelines, on X.

“Having accompanied him over the last twelve years, I can say that Samy died of grief,” declared Ariel Goldmann, president of the United Jewish Social Fund (FSJU).