Dan Uzan was named 'Dane of the Year' (Årets Dansker) on Tuesday for protecting others during the February 14-15 Copenhagen terror attack that cost him his life.
Uzan, 37, was shot outside Copenhagen's Great Synagogue on Krystalgade in the city centre while working as a volunteer security guard during a bar mitzvah.
His death was one of two at the hands of Omar el-Hussein, a Danish Palestinian, in an attack that occurred less than a month after the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.
The 22-year-old El-Hussein, who became radicalized during a stint behind bars, also attacked the Krudttønden café in Østerbro, killing 55-year-old film director Finn Nørgaard, before being shot and killed by police.
“[Dan Uzan] was killed while protecting others, while voluntarily guarding a synagogue while a terror attack took place in the city. He was not just protecting the people inside, who were celebrating a bar mitzvah, but also freedom of religion. He paid with his life,” said a statement given by the Berlingske Media group at the Dane of the Year prize ceremony.
Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, who gave a speech at the ceremony, also paid tribute.
“Dan was, first and foremost, a genuine everyday hero. He stepped up when he knew he was putting himself at risk,” said Rasmussen.
“Dan has now been honoured and recognized for the values he stood for. Not just in Denmark, but also in Europe and elsewhere in the world. This is something that provides a lot of comfort in our grief,” Uzan’s sister, Andrea Uzan, said in her speech.
The Dane of the Year prize is awarded annually to Danes who are considered to have “made the greatest difference in their field”. It is voted for by the readers of the Berlingske newspaper, with 25,353 votes cast this year. Other nominees included astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Rebien Sørensen and politicians Naser Khader (Conservative Party), Pia Kjærsgaard (former leader of the Danish People’s Party) and Uffe Elbæk, leader of the newly formed environmentally focused Alternative Party.
Sergeot Uzan received the award on behalf of his deceased son, whose photo can be seen in the background. Photo: Simon Skipper/Scanpix