Mette Bentow, the mother whose daughter’s bat-mitzva was cut short by the terror attack at the Copenhagen synagogue late last night, sounded a defiant tone in an interview with The Algemeiner on Sunday in which she recounted her harrowing experiences of the past 24 hours.
“No one can tell me where I can live my Jewish life,” she insisted strongly, even as she admitted, “I don’t know if there will be a Danish Jewish life” for her children to live there.
“We were celebrating the bat-mitzva of our daughter Hannah and due to heightened security in Copenhagen, there were extra security personnel on the ground, both from the Jewish community but also from the police,” Bentow recounted. ”There were armed police officers, which is not a usual sight in Copenhagen.
“We were having a wonderful party until 20 minutes to one in the night when one of the Jewish security guards asked us to go downstairs to the basement, and, after a short while, he took my husband aside, who has a security background, briefed him on what had happened and gave him a radio. We then proceeded into a security room, a panic room where we were left.”
Bentow said that no gunshots were heard by guests at the party “because we were listening to music, we were dancing and the community center is behind the synagogue itself, so we didn’t hear anything.”
Most of the guests had already left the party at the time of the attack, but among those who remained were “15 classmates of my daughter, many of which were without their parents,” Bentow said.
The group remained “in the panic room for an hour and a half to two hours. We did our very best to try and calm the children down,” she continued. “The youngest in the room was my own son, my youngest son, who is 8 years old.
“My husband was aware of the situation but chose to hold this from the children and tried to make light of the situation, explaining it as a standard procedure, and therefore we tried to comfort each other and keep the children calm. After one and a half to two hours in the security room, we were escorted by armed police out of the building into buses and taken to an evacuation center outside the center of Copenhagen, where we were met by police, psychologists and childrens’ psychiatrists.”
Bentow said the community is “deeply affected by the events and very saddened,” and offered praise to the Jewish community’s volunteer security staff. “Throughout the entire time, we felt that the Jewish security personnel at the center were doing their utmost to keep us safe,” she said. “They were professional, calm, and they made us feel safe, they were truly heroes to us.”
Bentow recounted her final moments with Dan Uzan, the Jewish security guard killed in the attack whom she said she knew “very well.”
“The whole day yesterday my husband and I said to …read more
Source:: The Algemeiner
The Great Synagogue in central Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: Wikipedia.