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Woman, 89, who survived Holocaust needs police protection over far-right threats – World News

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Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre has been placed under police protection after being bombarded by far-right threats.

Mrs Segre, 89, from Italy, called for Parliamentary action into investigate the rise of racism and anti-Semitism in Italy after receiving daily abuse on social media.

The attacks intensified after Italy’s right-wing parties refused to back her proposal for a commission to look into the issue.

A neo-Nazi group appeared to target one of her recent public appearances by hanging a banner denouncing anti-fascism nearby.

A security source said police were only accompanying her to public events and not providing round-the-clock protection.

Liliana Segre has received a daily barrage of abuse on social media

 

“It must be said that Liliana receives vastly more messages of support and solidarity than she does hate messages,” said Paola Gargiulo, Mrs Segre’s chief of staff.

Mrs Segre was deported from Italy to Auschwitz in 1944 when she was 13 – one of 776 Italian children under the age of 14 who were sent to the Nazi concentration camp. Only 25 survived.

She has dedicated much of her time in recent years to visiting schools to recount the horrors of the Holocaust and was named a life Senator in 2018.

Israel’s ambassador to Italy, Dror Eydar, expressed dismay at the news Mrs Segre needed a police escort.

“An 89-year-old Holocaust survivor under guard symbolises the danger that Jewish communities still face in Europe today,” he wrote on Twitter .

The Holocaust survivor called on Italy’s Parliament to tackle the issue

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Government ministers also expressed solidarity. “Forgive us Liliana. The politics of hate will not stop your commitment, nor ours,” said Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova on Twitter.

There was no immediate comment from the leaders of the main rightist parties, the League and Brothers of Italy, who had opposed Mrs Segre’s call for a parliamentary commission, warning that it could lead to censorship.

The Centre of Contemporary Jewish Documentation (CDEC), said anti-Semitism appeared to be increasing in Italy, but was still much less pronounced than in France and Britain.

CDEC researcher Stefano Gatti said that until the beginning of November 190 cases of anti-Semitism had been reported in Italy against 197 in all of 2018 and 130 in 2017.

Most were social media attacks and verbal insults, with just two acts of minor violence registered this year.

“The anti-Semitism we are seeing is getting more aggressive, but the number of anti-Semites in Italy is largely stable,” said Gatti, pointing to surveys that suggested around 11 percent of Italians were hostile to, or prejudiced against Jews.



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