Italian Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre has been placed under police protection after receiving an average of 200 online anti-Semitic death threats a day, security sources said on Thursday.
Segre, an 89-year-old survivor of Auschwitz and Italian “senator-for-life,” called last month for the creation of a parliamentary commission to investigate hate, racism, and anti-Semitism after she was subject to a torrent of hate on the internet, which included a teacher from the Veneto region of Italy writing on Facebook that Segre “would do well in a nice little incinerator.”
my faith in humanity is dead pic.twitter.com/vEv1HyRs1P
— Jordan fa-la-la-la-Lancaster ????☃️❄️ (@jordylancaster) November 8, 2019
The animosity towards Segre was amplified after Italy’s far-right parties, the League and Brothers of Italy, and center-right party, Forza Italia, refused to back the proposal, sparking outrage from Italy’s Jewish community. (RELATED: BDS Movement Uses Holocaust Inversion To Delegitimize Israel, Israeli Government Report Finds)
Segre was deported from Italy to Auschwitz in 1944 when she was 13. She was 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 since then to visiting schools to recount the horrors of the Holocaust and was named a life senator in 2018.
Segre’s story comes as anti-Semitism has been on the rise across Europe. A major European Union report published in 2018 found that nearly 90% of European Jews feel that anti-Semitism has increased in their home countries over the past five years. Almost 30% say they have been harassed at least once in the past year.
A CNN poll from the same year found that one-fifth of Europeans believe Jewish people have too much influence in finance and politics, and a third said they knew nothing at all or “just a little” about the Holocaust.
“It must be said that Liliana receives vastly more messages of support and solidarity than she does hate messages,” said Paola Gargiulo, Segre’s chief of staff.