By D. Bender
Valerie Braham, who lost her husband, Philippe, in Friday’s terror siege at a Paris kosher market, told Israel’s Ch. 2 News on Sunday that her first inkling of the carnage taking place was when her cellphone text message to him went unanswered, moments after she learned of the attack.
“I started to worry, I sent him a message and I felt that something was wrong,” she recounted.
After taking the couple’s children to school, Philippe Braham, 40, headed over to the HyperCacher, arriving around the same time as Amedy Coulibaly, the Islamist terrorist who seized the market in a bid to assist the escape of Cherif and Said Kouachi, the brothers who were cornered by police in a simultaneous siege northeast of Paris, after they fled the scene of the massacre they carried out at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday.
Valerie Braham explained that her husband had gone to the market to collect a few items for their Friday night meal.
“‘Lehitraot’ – see you this evening,” were her last words to him.
A short time later, word quickly spread through the Jewish community of a hostage incident at the HyperCacher. As the minutes passed, her stomach knotted.
“At about 1:20, I was at the school to pick up my kids, and I heard about it, and I said, ‘Oh, I know that Philip had to do some shopping for me,'” she recounted.
“I called him to check and he didn’t answer. I began to worry, so I sent him several messages, and then I felt something was wrong. He’d always get back to me – even if he was busy, he’d say, ‘I’ll call you back in two minutes,'” she said.
Braham, Yohan Cohen, 22, Yoav Hattab, 21, and François-Michel Saada, 55, were shot and killed in the attack. Four other shoppers sustained critical wounds in the seven-hour standoff before security forces breached the supermarket’s plate glass window.
“The little ones don’t understand,” Valerie said of struggling to explain their father’s death to her children.
“My oldest one has the feeling that something is wrong and she sees that he’s not here, so I told her that he was injured – what can I say – that they took from me the thing I loved most in the world? That they took my other half?”
Grief stricken, she added, “I do not know how my children will grow up without a father.”
On Monday, the coffins of the four murdered Jews arrived in Israel, for a state burial in Jerusalem on Tuesday. Valerie steeled herself for the sad trek, saying she knows that’s what Philip would have wanted.
“We also have a son who is buried there [in Israel], so he’ll be there with his son,” she said, adding, that “It’s the only place he would have wanted to be.”