Denmark - From Joy to Terror: Participants at Copenhagen Bat Mitzvah Describe Event as Shooting Unfolds
Denmark - What should have been the happiest moments of Chana Bentov’s life turned into a nightmare of epic proportions as the 12 year old’s bat mitzvah celebration was punctuated by the sounds of gunshots in the night.
Journalist Eva Blum fled to the basement of The Copenhagen Synagogue with her 15 year old son during the terror attack, which took the life of Dan Uzan, as previously reported on VIN News. Blum spoke with Israeli news site Maariv (goo.gl ) and described what happened inside the synagogue as terror reigned in the streets of Copenhagen.
“We were more than 50 children and adults together,” said Blum. “We were at the bat mitzvah and we were dancing and suddenly the security guard came and screamed ‘turn off the music and go down to the basement.’ We raced downstairs quickly, not even taking our telephones or our bags.”
While the group originally congregated in the basement, they were told to move into a more secure area, deeper inside the basement.
“We knew then that something bad had happened,” said Blum. “We were there for close to two hours. It was very hot and the children were frightened. The father of the bat mitzvah girl overheard the police and the security guards talking and he told just us, the adults, that one of the security people had been shot. We hid this from the children. We just told them that that there had been an attack and that we were being guarded.”
As students at Copenhagen’s Jewish school, the children at the party had all participated in drills to prepare them for a potential security breach.
“They know what the word means,” said Blum. “They are prepared. But this time it was real. This time what we planned for and have always feared actually happened.”
The scariest moments, according to Blum, came when dozens of armed police officers came to evacuate them from the building.
“Each one of the adults took a child, or several children in hand,” recalled Blum. “Imagine what it is like to run with a shoeless child, through roads full of armed policemen. It is frightening.”
The children, many of whom were unaccompanied by their own parents, held up admirably according to Blum.
“We couldn’t call their parents,” said Blum. “We had no phones. The children were scared but they were ready for something like this.”