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Dan Uzan, who was killed in the attack on the Copenhagen

The readers of the Danish national daily newspaper Berlingske have voted security guard Dan Uzan, who was killed while defending with his body a Copenhagen synagogue last February, Man of the year 2015.

Uzan, 37, a member of the local Jewish community who worked as security guard at the Great Synagogue on Krystalgade in central Copenhagen, was fatally shot by Omar El-Hussein, 22, a Muslim terrorist, who had earlier killed Danish filmmaker Finn Nørgaard at a freedom of speech debate held at a local café. The two separate attacks left five policemen wounded as well.

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Uzan, an economics graduate from the University of Copenhagen, was standing guard outside, while inside around 80 Jews, among them many teenagers, were celebrating a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday night, February 14. At about half an hour after midnight, the Palestinian gunman tried to get into the Jewish cultural center behind the synagogue, armed with loaded guns. But Uzan got in his way, unarmed. The terrorist shot him in the head at close range. Two police officers were wounded by shots when the terrorist fled the scene, and Uzan died shortly afterward.

The event shocked the Copenhagen Jewish community, and shook all of Denmark. This past weekend, Danish citizens proved they had not forgottenthat case, when a comprehensive Berlingske survey elected Uzan Dennmark’s Man of the Year. Apart from readers, the selection also involved a team of seven judges, all of them public figures selected by the newspaper.

The Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Rasmussen, welcomed the choice and said he admires the victim’s family “who did not react in hatred and a call for revenge, but spoke out against hate and prejudice.” Denmark’s former prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, also praised Uzan’s heroism after the event. Both leaders said that Uzan’s action manifested a central value of Danish culture — unselfishness.

Denmark’s ambassador to Israel, Jesper Vahr, told Walla that “as the Prime Minister said, it is a wise choice. Dan Uzan is a shining example to all of us. We must stand firm against Terrorism, in all its manifestations. Dan Uzan did it without hesitation — and paid the highest price. The ‘Denmark’s Man of the Year’ choice is just a small example of the respect and esteem of the Danes to this sacrifice of their countryman.”

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Rita Kelly pick up a book! The Danes saved every Jew in one nite from the gas chambers.
    Every Jew in Denmark was shipped to Sweden right under the Nazi noses!
    Many Danes got put against a wall & shot!
    Not one Dane gave up one Jew in the hole country!
    It’s called the Road of wood.

  2. Jose Efrain Viñas Nice thought but its hard to get a gun license in Israel despite the security situation. If you don’t fit their very narrow criteria you are out of luck. The people in my congregation who do have permits (maybe 10 %. people who are career army/security or have jobs that take them into areas the government designates as dangerous), do wear their arms to the beit kenesset but for most people it isn’t even an option. None of the people for instance, in the synagogue in Har Nof would have gotten a permit even if they had applied for one. They were immigrants, mostly hadn’t done the army and Har Nof wasn’t designated as a dangerous area. Nothing has changed today. Where I live is pretty much the same. And even if you have a permit, the government can and does pull them for political reasons. A number of people killed in ambushes, terror attacks or stonings had had their permits taken away for reasons that boiled down to having the wrong political opinions. And many congregations, just struggling to keep the lights on can’t really afford the armed guard either. There’s a bit of a to-do because the city has pulled most of the armed guards from community centers and all but the largest schools. With the city full of Arabs from various construction projects wandering around, its a matter of time before there’s (another, we’ve had one already and at least one that was foiled) another terror attack.

  3. It's a shame he wasn't armed. Had he been, he might still be alive, and the killer stopped then and there. I think about this often, as I have a Catholic nephew who works in a synogogue in Quebec, where there are many Muslims. When they celebrate a holiday or a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, he does security. He is unarmed, but he is very big. I pray for his safety.

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