On Wednesday, two striking events happened in France. The first was that the President of the Republic led the nation’s mourning for Lieutenant-Colonel Beltrame, the policeman who swopped himself for a hostage at the siege at a supermarket in Trèbes last week. Elsewhere in Paris on the same day there was a silent march past the flat of Mireille Knoll. As a girl, in 1942, Mme Knoll narrowly escaped being rounded up by the French police and put on a train to Auschwitz. Last weekend, at the age of 85, the remains of her wheelchair-bound body were found in her Paris flat. Her body had been stabbed and burned. Mme Knoll, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease had apparently previously told police about a neighbour who had threatened to ‘burn her’. And so the fires that failed to catch the nine-year old Mireille in Auschwitz caught up with her seven decades later in multicultural, diverse, 21st century France.