Help the refugees

If you move around the world by choice, consider helping those forced from their homes by conflict. Donate to the UN Refugee Agency today.

Home News Brussels Jewish museum to reopen in defiance of ‘brutes’

Brussels Jewish museum to reopen in defiance of ‘brutes’

Published on 09/09/2014

The Jewish museum in Brussels will reopen on Sunday under tight security, in a message of defiance against "brutes" after a gunman shot dead four people there in May, officials said.

Museum officials also said Tuesday that the French suspect held in what the authorities describe as a terrorist-linked shooting does not want to take part in a reconstruction of the events as part of the legal case against him.

“We should not give free rein — I dare say – to bastards,” the museum’s secretary general Norbert Cige told reporters when asked what message the reopening gave.

“We are continuing our educational work. In this world of brutes, it’s necessary,” Cige said.

Unlike synagogues and other Jewish community sites in Brussels, the museum did not have special security precautions before the May 24 attack.

But on Sunday, two police officers will guard the entrance, a metal detector will be set up and visitors searched, officials said.

“The public and our staff can be reassured,” Museum President Philippe Blondin said.

Two exhibitions that began before the shooting — “Warsawwarsaw” and “The dress is elsewhere” — will resume when the museum re-opens on Sunday.

Another, “Gotlib’s worlds,” will open to the public on November 13 and run through February 15 next year.

In the longer term, part of the museum in the heart of Brussels will be demolished and rebuilt, with work to be complete in 2007.

“We want, with absolute determination, to retake our place in the cultural arena of Brussels,” Blondin said.

Mehdi Nemmouche, a Frenchman of Algerian origin who was extradited from France to Belgium in July and charged here with the murders, “does not want to take part in the reconstruction” of the event, Blondin said.

Nonetheless, he said, Nemmouche will “perhaps be brought to the scene” for the re-enactment designed to help prosecutors piece together the crime.

“But will he speak, will he cooperate? We know nothing,” Blondin, said hoping the reconstruction will happen as “quickly as possible.”

Officials had said earlier the museum would remain closed until the re-enactment, but Blondin said the investigating judge finally agreed that it could reopen Sunday on condition that nothing be changed to the entrance where the four people were gunned down.

Sunday is European day of Jewish Culture.