ECI pays tribute to slain Jewish guard at funeral in Copenhagen - EU must take action to make Europe safe for Jewish communities

Copenhagen, February 18th, 2015 - ECI has paid tribute to Dan Uzan, the slain Jewish guard who was laid to rest on Wednesday at the Jewish cemetery in Copenhagen. ECI director Tomas Sandell attended the funeral alongside mourning friends from the Jewish community, Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Dan Uzan was gunned down on Saturday night whilst guarding the main synagogue in Copenhagen where a Bar Mitzvah party was taking place. On Wednesday, he was honoured for having prevented a major massacre by stopping the gunman before being killed himself.

The deadly shooting took place just a little more than a month after 17 people were killed in Paris in a terror attack that bore many similarities with the attack in Copenhagen. After having first targeted journalists and intellectuals who had allegedly dishonoured the Muslim prophet Muhammed, the terrorist went in search of a Jewish target and found it in the main synagogue in central Copenhagen.

The attack is the third major terrorist attack of its kind in Europe in less than ten months and has sent shock waves throughout Jewish communities. The killings mark the tip of an iceberg of growing anti-Semitic violence which is currently threatening the safety and security of European Jewry. On Saturday, a Jewish cemetery was vandalised in Alsace, France, where as many as 300 gravestones were overturned.

In a letter to Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt on Wednesday, ECI director Sandell repeated his call for a special EU summit to discuss new measures to halt the current threat to the Jewish communities in Europe.

Sandell first presented his request in a private meeting with the First Vice- President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, in Prague on January 26th, when he called for a European crisis summit to stop the current wave of Jew hatred and radicalisation.

Amongst those who paid tribute on Wednesday, was Natan Sharansky, the current head of the Jewish Agency, who in an op-ed last summer predicted the beginning of the end of Jewish history in Europe, citing security concerns and the rise of anti-Semitism. In a press statement in Jerusalem on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu called for the Jews in Europe to come home to Israel. European leaders, such as French Prime Minister Manuel Valls have reacted angrily at any hint that Jews are no longer safe in Europe.

According to Sandell, it is the responsibility of each host country to protect its citizens. The same applies to Israel, where the majority of world Jewry is located. Jews have faced numerous terror attacks in Israel in addition to the ones in Europe. In November, Palestinian gunmen managed to break into a local synagogue in Jerusalem and kill four rabbis at prayer. The same could have happened in Copenhagen on Saturday were it not for the sacrificial efforts of Dan Uzan.

On Tuesday, Sandell will travel to Brussels to renew his call for immediate action from the European Commission to protect its Jewish communities in Europe.