On the third floor of the Belgian capital's oldest Jewish school, Jacquy Wajc pauses to listen to the eerie silence that hangs in the hallways.
Established in 1947 as a testament to Belgian Jewry's post-Holocaust revival, the Athenee Maimonides Bruxelles school once accommodated 600 students in its spacious building in downtown Brussels but now has only 150. Enrollment entered a free fall 10 years ago, as Jews left the area for the suburbs and were replaced by immigrants, many of them Muslims, who made Jewish parents believe the area was unsafe.
"It breaks my heart," says Wajc (pronounced "vights"), president of the Maimonides school. "I remember when you couldn't hear a thing this time of the day over the raucous PE class."