On Sept. 14 the museum will host a day-long program to commemorate the reopening, which will purposefully coincide with European Days of Jewish Culture. The event will include speeches by Philippe Blondin, the president of the Jewish Museum of Belgium, as well as Belgium’s Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo.
The suspect in the April killings, Mehdi Nemmouche, a resident of the French city of Roubaix was arrested at a Marseilles bus station several weeks after the attacks. He fled Brussels for Amsterdam before returning to France by bus.
Marc Weitzmann wrote in Tablet that Nemmouche had likely been radicalized during a stint in French jail, and moved to Syria in 2012, where investigators believe he trained with ISIS militants. Weitzmann reported from Nemmouche’s hearing in France’s Court of Appeal in May:
Faces hooded, M-14s in hand, .38 caliber pistols on the side, the mute black silhouettes of the RAID team—the French equivalent of the SWAT—check every one of us as we pass the freestone walls and, across the courtyard, take the wooden staircase leading to the first floor where the court hearing takes place.
Nemmouche, handcuffed and with three RAID men to guard him, enters the court’s glass cage at 9:43. He’s 29, midsize, with black hair. He wears a colorless pair of jeans and a shapeless pullover, and he bears no sign of the brutal determination so obvious on the picture that the authorities gave to the press—an image that was probably taken at the police station of Roubaix, his city of birth, near the Belgian border, back in 2005 or so, when he was just another juvenile delinquent. No signs of fear, embarrassment, or shame. No trace, either, of the scary militia aura emanating from the museum surveillance videos that showed a black-and-white, blurred, muscular man, cap on his head, sunglasses on his eyes, and—just like Muhammed Merah, the Toulouse killer, had two years ago—a GoPro camera attached to his chest so he could film his murders.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.