Fury after Italian Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre is forced to take police protection

She had been campaigning for a parliamentary investigation into racism and antisemitism in Italy


Jewish groups have condemned as “disgusting and shocking” reports that an Italian Holocaust survivor has been given police protection after receiving threats from far-right fanatics.

Liliana Segre, 89, who called last month for a parliamentary investigation into racism and antisemitism, was assigned a police escort after receiving daily abuse on social media.

Security sources said that she was being accompanied by officers to public events and was not receiving round-the-clock protection.

She was appointed one of Italy’s five senators for life by the country’s president last year.

Paola Gargiulo, who works as Ms Segre’s chief of staff, told Reuters: “It must be said that Liliana receives vastly more messages of support and solidarity than she does hate messages.”

But Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said it was “disgusting and shocking”.

“That efforts to combat hate are met with threats of violence show just how much antisemitism continues to pollute our world today and how important education and awareness is in the fight against hate,” she said.

“A Holocaust survivor, of all people, should not have to face this sort of pernicious racism today.”

Italian far-right and nationalist parties abstained on a vote to establish a formal commission to investigate hate and antisemitism in the country.

Israel’s ambassador in Italy, Dror Eydar, said on Twitter: “An 89-year-old Holocaust survivor under guard symbolises the danger that Jewish communities still face in Europe today.”

Ms Segre was among the 776 Italian children deported to Auschwitz in 1944. Just 25 survived.

She has dedicated her time in recent years to visiting schools to recount the story of the Holocaust.

Stefano Gatti, a researcher at the Centre of Contemporary Jewish Documentation, said antisemitism appeared to be increasing in Italy, although at a lower rate than elsewhere in Europe.

There were 190 antisemitic incidents in the first ten months of this year, he said, compared to 197 for the whole of 2018 and 130 in 2017.

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