WASHINGTON, June 9, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AJC presented its Moral Courage Award today posthumously to Dan Uzan, a volunteer Danish community Jewish security guard who was murdered while protecting a Bat Mitzvah party at a Copenhagen synagogue. His family traveled from Copenhagen especially to accept the award at the AJC Global Forum.
Uzan, a volunteer security guard for the synagogue, was killed by a young jihadist, only hours after he killed a Danish filmmaker at a free-speech event. Uzan was standing guard outside the building where 80 Jews, mostly teenagers, were celebrating the Bat Mitzvah of Hannah Bentow. Unarmed Uzan died seeking to prevent the terrorist from wreaking further carnage.
“We miss Dan every second of every minute, every minute of every hour, every hour of every day,” said Andrea Uzan, his sister, who spoke on behalf of the family. He believed “in reconciliation and healing, and in taking responsibility.” She concluded with a plea to individuals and governments to do more to enforce “the rule of law, equality, no acceptance of hate and violence.”
Harriet Schleifer, a member of the AJC’s Executive Council, presented the award to the Uzan family – his father, Mordekai; mother, Bodil; sister, Andrea; and best friend, Nicholai Gringer.
“I am here today in sadness and in sorrow,” said Schleifer. “I stand here determined to do all that is in my power to combat the deadly scourge of anti-Semitism that has arisen in Europe. But most of all, I stand here to pay tribute, to a family, a community, a man, a hero, a beacon of moral courage, Dan Uzan.”
At Uzan’s funeral, attended by more than 1,000 people, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said, “An attack on the Jews of Denmark is an attack on Denmark.”
Uzan is one of two individuals receiving the AJC Moral Courage Award posthumously during the AJC Global Forum 2015. The other is Zidan Seef, an Israeli Druze policeman killed while trying to stop a terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue last November. A third Moral Courage honoree this year is Lassana Bathily, who risked his life to save 15 Jews during the terrorist attack on the Hyper Cacher kosher market in Paris in January.
Past recipients of AJC’s Moral Courage Award include:
- Latifa Ibn Ziaten for her determined efforts to counter the influence of radical Islam and extremism in France after her son, Imad, a French soldier, was murdered in March 2012 by a terrorist who went on to kill another two French soldiers, and then a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse.
- Tatyana Sapunova, a Russian who suffered serious injury when removing a booby-trapped anti-Semitic sign in Moscow.
- Mithal al-Alusi, an Iraqi politician who, after visiting Israel, lost his two sons to the murderous hands of other Iraqis opposed to his outreach.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee