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 24 Days, a poignant memoir written by Ilan's mother Ruth, she 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. 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.
Originally published in France nearly three years after Ilan’s 2006 death, the manuscript has been vividly translated into English for the first time by Behrman House, in partnership with the ADL. The English-language edition comes with a new Preface from French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe and Foreword by ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
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. In this new English edition, Ilan’s story has been contextualized for American audiences with vignettes from recent headlines in the United States, including white supremacists marching in Charlottesville and synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway, to remind readers of how anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have had deadly consequences in America as well.
"This is not only my son Ilan’s story. I want it to be published to remind people of what hatred and intolerance can do, hatred for the other, intolerance of what we see as different. Given the world we live in today, we have to remember that we are all people, and we are the same, regardless of our beliefs. Otherwise, there will be very dark times ahead."
─Ruth Halimi, author of 24 Days
"Let us lock arms with Ruth Halimi and every other parent who has lost a son or a daughter to cruelty and hate."
─Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO, Anti-Defamation League
"This book reads like a detective novel. The difference is that it is true and the ending is tragic beyond belief. Many people, when analyzing the rise in contemporary anti-Semitism, forget that so much of it began with Ilan Halimi. The book is riveting and, though one knows the ending, as I read it, I found myself hoping against hope for a different outcome."
─Deborah E. Lipstadt, Author of Anti-Semitism: Here and Now and Professor of Holocaust Studies, Emory University
"Ilan’s death marks the tragic revival of murderous anti-Semitism in France. His name has become the symbol of France’s determination to fight anti-Semitism."
─Edouard Philippe, Prime Minister of France
"Ruth and Emilie’s vivid memoir of those fateful twenty-four days is etched on the collective Jewish memory of Europe. This poignant book comes to remind us that we must act soon before anti-Semitism and hatred consume not only Europe’s Jews but Europe itself."
─Dr. Moshe Kantor, President, European Jewish Congress
- REPORT incidents of anti-Semitism to ADL and/or local law enforcement.
- JOIN the fight against online hate by signing our Backspace Hate petition and encouraging our government to take action.
- ADVOCATE against hate by signing a petition urging Congress to enact the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act and the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act.
- TALK to young people about the consequences of anti-Semitism and hate. Here are some educational resources to help answer common questions or choose a book from our Books Matter collection to share stories of bias, diversity and standing up to hate.