Shani Louk can finally rest, say parents

Ricarda Louk and Nissim Louk, the parents of German-Israeli Shani Louk who was killed in the October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas
Nissim and Ricarda Louk will bury their daughter, Shani, on Sunday - Rami Amichay

Shani Louk can finally rest after her body was brought back to Israel to be buried on Sunday, her family has said.

The 23-year-old German Israeli was killed during the Hamas massacre on Oct 7. She had been celebrating with friends at the Nova music festival just inside Israel before it was attacked by gunmen from the terrorist group.

Her body was seen on the back of a pickup truck, surrounded by gunmen and later paraded through Gaza.

On Friday, the Israeli military informed Nissim and Ricarda Louk, the tattoo artist’s parents, that her body had been found by Israeli commandos in tunnels in Gaza. Nissim said that he had viewed photos in order to be sure it was her.

“We also saw the tattoos on her hands,” he said on Saturday. “Now she will have her own place next to us, and we can go there whenever we want. And she can rest.”

He said the funeral would be held on Sunday, Ricarda’s birthday. “I think Shani said ‘Let’s give my mother a birthday present and let’s go back and be close to her,’” he added.

Having Shani’s grave nearby would be a comfort, her mother said, adding: “Maybe we’ll find more peace.”

Shani Louk was at the Nova music festival for when she was murdered
Shani Louk was at the Nova music festival for when she was murdered

Nissim said there was also solace in knowing Shani was doing what she loved best before she died and probably did not suffer.

She was pronounced dead by Israeli authorities at the end of October, based on findings in the area of the Nova festival, where more than 360 people were shot, bludgeoned or burned to death. Videos of a smiling Shani at the festival surfaced in the following weeks.

“She was dancing the whole night. She was so happy,” said Nissim. “She never thought that there is evil in the world because she was a free spirit. She saw it only for a couple of seconds.”

Around 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 abducted in the Oct 7 attacks, according to Israeli officials. Israel responded by launching a military offensive to try to eradicate Hamas, which is now in its eighth month.

More than 35,000 people have since been killed in Gaza, the Palestinian health ministry has said. Most of the coastal enclave’s population has been displaced, and much of it has been laid waste to in the offensive, which has drawn fierce criticism abroad.

Ricarda said she was pained by what she saw as ignorance and misinformation displayed at some US campus protests against the war in Gaza, adding: “It’s horrible for us to see. We can tell you from our own experience. We lost our daughter in this massacre. There is no resistance that can justify what happened here.”