Speaking out for the first time, one of the hostages in the Paris kosher market terror attack described how he tried to keep the Islamist attacker calm and helped him upload a video depicting him killing four other hostages.
“André” was one of the 19 people held hostage by Amedy Coulibaly inside Paris’s Hyper Cacher kosher market on January 9, following on the heels of the Charlie Hebdo attacks January 7. A non-observant Jewish man, the victim had gone into the store with his girlfriend following news of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. He spoke with Vanity Fair journalist Marie Brenner.
The attacker filmed himself killing four hostages, but had difficulty accessing the internet in the market, which was not equipped with WiFi. André helped Coulibaly set up his laptop, using a printer cable to connect to the Internet.
“He was desperate to get online…I knew to listen and not to argue,” he said, recalling the lessons he learned as a teacher in a tough neighborhood.
“I said, ‘I can understand what you are saying.’ I went into a neutral state, like a teacher. I wanted him to see into my eyes and know that I was not angry … Again and again he said, ‘This is not my fault. I have to do this. It is not against you personally.”
“‘I am not crazy. We understand the Koran. We understand the good and the right way,’” André recalled Coulibaly saying.
Coulibaly acted alone at Hyper Cacher, but told André that he was working with Cherif and Said Kouachi, the brothers who killed 12 at Charlie Hebdo. All were part of an Islamic jihadist group.
Following the attacks, President François Hollande said, “It is indeed an appalling anti-Semitic act that was committed.”