November 18, 2019

Holocaust Survivor in Italy Needs Security Protection Due to Anti-Semitic Death Threats

MILAN, ITALY - DECEMBER 07: Liliana Segre attends the "Prima Alla Scala" at Teatro Alla Scala on December 7, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Pietro D'Aprano/Getty Images)

An 89-year-old Holocaust survivor residing in Italy reportedly needs police protection because of the volume of death threats she has recently received.

Liliana Segre, who has been a senator-for-life in the Italian parliament since 2018, began receiving as many as 200 threats a day after she introduced a motion for the parliament to establish a committee to fight against hate. The motion was approved over the objections of the right-wing bloc, who argued that such a committee could inhibit freedom of speech.

The Foundation Jewish Contemporary Documentation Center’s Stefano Gatti told CNN, “Every time prominent Jews are at the center of media attention in Italy, they get subjected to online anti-Semitic abuse. The anti-Semitic insults come from far-right circles that have a past, and sometimes present, of violence. It’s part of their radical rightwing code, this pugnacious attitude.”

Israel’s Ambassador to Italy Dror Eydar tweeted, “An 89-year-old survivor under escort symbolizes the danger that the Jewish communities in Europe still are facing today.”

The American Jewish Committee tweeted, “How can this be happening in 2019?”

Former New York Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who is the president of the Americans Against Antisemitism watchdog, tweeted, “Not only is antisemitism rising but Holocaust survivors are being threatened?! Hate to say we’re back in the 1930s but it’d be wrong to suggest Jews aren’t again becoming the global scapegoats for the world’s ills. This time, however, we will FIGHT BACK!”

According to the BBC, Segre was 13 when she was sent to the Auschwitz camp in 1943; two years later she was transferred to the Ravensbruck camp and then the Malchow camp shortly thereafter. The Soviet Union liberated the Malchow camp later that year. Segre’s father and grandparents were also sent to Auschwitz; they did not survive.