Monday 23 October 2017

Copenhagen shootings: 'We saw in his eyes that something terrible had happened'

Richard Orange

As Anat Taboul sat on the floor of the safe room under Copenhagen's synagogue with her 13-year-old son Noah on Saturday night, she made every effort not to let the children around her pick up on her growing feeling of dread.

"All the adults were looking into each other's eyes and we all thought something terrible was happening," she said. "We were afraid there were terrorists actually in the building, but we couldn't discuss it, because we wanted to protect the children."

The Bar Mitzvah disco for the son of family friends had barely begun when Tobias, one of the two volunteer guards on duty that night, shut off the music, telling everyone to go to the basement. "He said the police had informed him that we should stay here and that it was just a security procedure," Ms Taboul said.

The din of the first two dance music tracks had drowned out the sound of shooting in which Tobias's colleague, Dan Uzan, had been killed and five police officers injured only moments before, but the adults suspected this was just a story to prevent the children panicking.

"We didn't hear anything," Ms Taboul's husband Yoav (43) said. "But we could just see in his eyes that something terrible had happened.

"We stayed in a small room for nearly two hours. We were very hot, without anything at all," Anat said. "We just sat there and the children were crying and we were taking care of them." Two hours later, Tobias returned to help them evacuate safely. Faced with the growing anti-Semitic mood, Jews in Copenhagen had already been taking more precautions. Ms Taboul said she stopped wearing her Star of David necklace after graffiti was scrawled at her son's school last summer.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday urged European Jews to emigrate to Israel for their safety. Denmark's Chief Rabbi Jair Melchior said he was "disappointed" by Mr Netanyahu's stance. (© Independent News Service)

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