Jewish community thrives after terrorist attacks

by Marina Starodubtseva and Martin Choi

Jewish people tell their sentiments towards the Jewish community in Copenhagen.

Last year a Danish man attacked a free speech event and a synagogue hosting a “bat mitzvah” in Copenhagen, killing two and wounding five before being shot by police. Anti-Semitic violence has been on the rise worldwide, according to Tel Aviv University data on worldwide anti-Semitism over the past two decades.

Nevertheless, over the last year experts have recorded a decline in the level of anti-Semitism in the world. They attribute this to the fact that the attention of extreme right-wing groups has been displaced from Jews to migrants from predominantly Muslim countries. Another reason is the growing fear of terrorism in Europe, the origins of which are seen in radical Muslim circles, leading to an increase in sympathy for the Jewish communities and Israel. Both have long faced manifestations of terrorism.

A dialogue between the Danes and the Jews

Alice Fingeret has worked in the Danish Jewish Museum since it was founded. The museum was built in 2004 and takes into account the special relationship with the Jewish community and the city residents.

“Architect Daniel Libeskind was a guest professor at the Academy of Copenhagen several years ago. Then he heard about the Danish-Jewish story. It was fantastic that both the citizens and government helped the Jews escape. When Libeskind heard about the plans of a Jewish museum he was inspired by the idea of the building.”

During World War II most of the Jews were saved thanks to the Danes, and the main theme of the museum was salvation. When asked about fear, Alice got a little confused. She insisted that Denmark was a peaceful country but immediately added: “It was the first time for many years when the Jewish didn’t want to come to some areas where they were faced with hate.”

Near the synagogue

Now a huge portion of the synagogue is under repair. Despite of this, there are still a lot of events in this place. There are about 600 Jews in Denmark, which is much more than in Belgium and France. After terrorist attacks, the securities took control of the Jewish and non-Jewish institutions that could become potential targets of attacks.

“We had a bad accident years ago and I don’t know whether we learned a lesson. Now we are afraid that it would happen here one day as it does in most of Europe. But we try to make this place safer. The Government wants to look after us and everybody else in this country. Not only the government but also politicians from all the parties.”