Italian Holocaust survivor under guard amid death threats

An 89-year-old Holocaust survivor in Italy has been assigned police guards for protection after receiving hundreds of threats on social media.

Liliana Segre, who was sent to the Auschwitz death camp at 13, has been subjected to a barrage of antisemitic messages in recently.

It comes after Segre, an Italian life senator, called for parliament to establish a committee to combat hate.

The motion passed despite a lack of support by Italy’s right-wing parties.

Members of the nationalist League party, led by Matteo Salvini, the centre-right Forza Italia and the far-right Brothers of Italy all abstained from the vote in Milan.

The motion called for the establishment of an extraordinary commission in Italy to combat all forms of racism, antisemitism, incitement to hatred and violence on ethnic and religious grounds.

Segre said after the vote that the abstentions made her feel “like a Martian in the Senate”.
I appealed to the conscience of everyone and thought that a commission against hatred as a principle would be accepted by all,” she said at the time, Italy’s La Repubblica reported.
Since then, she has reported receiving as many as 200 hate messages a day.

Some of the threats have been so serious that the prefect of Milan, Renato Saccone, held a meeting with the committee for security and public order, where it was agreed that Segre needed police protection.

Meanwhile, the Milan public prosecutor’s office said it had opened an investigation into the hate messages targeting the senator and had requested the assistance of Italy’s anti-terror police.

Segre was born in Milan in 1930. She fled Nazi persecution in Italy with her father in December 1943.

After failing to secure refuge in Switzerland, the pair were sent by train to the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland the following month, where her father and grandparents were killed.

Segre was made an Italian senator for life by President Sergio Mattarella in January 2018.


Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

browse by community