Ricarda Louk is the mother of tattoo artist Shani Louk, who was murdered by Hamas terrorists during the Oct. 7 Nova music festival massacre at Kibbutz Re’im near the Gaza Strip.
Shani has become a symbol across the world, especially in Germany, of the horrors committed against women by Hamas.
Ricarda decided to join the lawsuit against Hamas’s crimes in The Hague, led by Attorney Yael Vias-Gvirsman, from its early days.
“I was in a WhatsApp group with families of German origin in an identical situation to ours,” she said. “Someone there raised the idea of the lawsuit. I contacted Yael and since then we have been cooperating with her. She recommended that we also file a criminal lawsuit in Germany because of Shani’s German citizenship, along with the lawsuit in The Hague. And that is what we are doing.”
Q: What do you expect to achieve from this lawsuit? After all, you have already been in a difficult situation for three months, investing efforts and energy in attempts to bring your daughter’s body to a proper burial.
A: The lawsuit will not bring back Shani, and it’s also not about money. My main goal is for Shani’s case to gain recognition in the world. That it will be written in history books for generations. So that in a few years, people won’t say that these horrors never happened—just as there are Holocaust deniers, there are people denying what happened to us. That is why legal international validation is so important to us, with testimonies, investigations and verdicts that resonate loud and clear. So that no one can dispute it.
Q: As a German citizen, how do you feel about the international criticism against Israel?
A: It is one of the most frustrating things—the reactions from abroad. The apathy of people who don’t understand what’s going on here. That is why despite the difficulty, it is important for me to make my voice heard. I have been interviewed by every media outlet in Germany. We have met every politician there, from ministers to the chancellor, all to tell them about this chaotic reality.
Q: Will you travel to The Hague yourself?
A: I have nothing left to lose. I have already lost what was most precious. I am willing to do anything that could help others; so I will probably travel there.
Q: Do you expect that as part of the proceedings, you will get Shani’s body back?
A: We are still waiting to get Shani’s body back. We don’t have a grave. I don’t know if the body is still there, what condition it is in. I don’t want any soldier to risk their life for the body. If leaving the body there means saving lives, leave it. We’ll manage. I think lives should be sacrificed for other living things, not a body, although, of course, we are making every effort to bring it back home for proper burial. We’ll keep trying for up to a year from now, and if we don’t succeed—we’ll establish a grave with what we have now.”
Originally published by Israel Hayom.