Wife of Jewish restaurant owner killed in terror attack

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The Jewish owner of a Paris restaurant that was sprayed by gunfire lost his wife in the attack, holding her hand as she died. Djamila Houd, 41, the spouse of Gregory Reibenberg, the principal owner of La Belle Equipe on Charonne Street, was among the 19 people who died at the restaurant on Nov. 13 when gunmen fired on patrons with automatic weapons.

At least 129 people died and 350 were injured during the night of terror, perpetrated by eight or more terrorists who used guns and explosives at six Paris-area locales.

Gregory Reibenberg on French TV photo/jta-france2

Houd, who was born to a non-Jewish family of immigrants from Algeria, and Reibenberg, an Ashkenazi Jew, have an 8-year-old daughter, Tess.

On Nov. 15, Reibenberg led a mourning procession with family members to the restaurant where Houd died. In an interview with a French television station, he recounted holding her in his arms as she lay dying from two gunshot wounds to her upper body.

“She said, ‘take care of our daughter,’ I told her I would, and that was that,” said Reibenberg, who was at Le Belle Èquipe to celebrate the birthday of one of his employees. He knew nine of the people who died at the restaurant, including one business associate and several employees.

Reibenberg told the French station that his daughter asked him whether it would be possible to undo what happened to her mother. “I told her to think that her mother is up in the stars, and that she can talk to her there,” he said.

Born in the poor municipality of Dreux, north of Paris, Houd was considered a symbol of success in her hometown, according to L’Echo Republicain daily. She owned a successful café near Bastille in Paris, according to Le Figaro.

In the days after the attacks, a volunteer trauma psychologist has been accompanying Reibenberg at all times, according to the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad. To cope with his grief and to help others, Reibenberg organized a meeting for relatives of the people who died at his restaurant.

“All of us lost someone — a friend, a spouse, a partner,” Reibenberg said. “I lost all of that, like many of you.” — jta