On the sixth anniversary of the attack on the synagogue of Copenhagen, remembrances came in for Dan Uzan ז״ל.
Dan Uzan was guarding the city’s Great Synagogue in the Danish capital while a bat mitzvah was in progress when he was shot and killed by a radical Islamist, who just a few hours earlier had attacked a cultural event marking the Charlie Hebdo massacre, killing one. The terrorist was shot to death by police the next morning.
Mette Bentow, whose daughter’s bat mitzvah was interrupted by the attack, spoke to The Algemeiner newspaper about what the anniversary has come to mean.
“You learn a lot in six years,” she said. “You look differently at events over time and the long-term consequences might not be what you thought they would be.”
“The scars, and subsequent consequences of the experience, are still very much present in our everyday lives as a constant reminder. But even though this experience is a part of our life story, it is not who or what we are. It does not define who we are,” Bentow said.
“Our family will always bear Dan Uzan with us in our hearts and will always remember him — not just in this day, but every day, all the year, because we know that we live because of him,” she continued. “Dan, his values and way of living, should define us all much more than his death.”
Bentow added that after the family’s youngest son celebrated his bar mitzvah in 2019, she asked him about the best part, expecting an answer about the day’s celebrations. “Instead he paused and thought for a long time, before answering: ‘that there was no terrorist attack.’”
Dan Uzan’s father, Mordekhai Sergeot, recorded a video paying tribute to his son.
“I was lying in my bed, asleep, when at 3:30 am, my daughter received a phone call and was informed that my son had been murdered,” he recalled. “We were then informed by our rabbi by phone, and shortly after, he arrived at our home, escorted by two police officers. This is when we got the message that, in effect, meant our lives stopped.”
“We learned that we had lost our precious, innocent son simply because he protected other people,” he said. “It was shocking and unacceptable. Unacceptable still today that we lost one who meant everything to us.”
“This is a way of losing our own lives too,” Sergeot said. “We have lost our joy of life. His way of being, his kindness, his smile. His strength as a human being and his values. It’s in my thoughts every single day. And I’m reminded through my surroundings and the people around me.”
“I hope that no one should feel the pain and loss that we have,” he added.
“We must stop terrorism,” he asserted. “It is unacceptable. Not only for me, but for all free and democratic people. We must fight terrorism, for our children’s sake, above all. We can find the strength if we do it together.”