Europe

Italian Holocaust survivor gets police escort after rise in far-right threats

Italian Senator Liliana Segre. Source: Getty Images

Liliana Segre receives an average of 200 online threats each and every day.

An Italian Holocaust survivor has been forced to accept a police escort following an increase in the number of threats from far-right extremists.

Senator-for-life Liliana Segre has attracted the ire of her political opponents after her push to establish a parliamentary commission to combat racism, antisemitism and incitement to hatred was given the green light by the Italian government.

Senator Segre noted an increase in the animosity directed at her after far-right outfits including the League and Brothers of Italy as well Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia refused to back the proposal.

Italian life senator Liliana Segre.
Italian life senator Liliana Segre.
Mondadori Portfolio Editorial

The senator's chief of staff has told The Guardian there was little doubt Senator Segre has been on the receiving end of attacks for some time.

“Liliana was receiving threats long before she proposed a motion for the commission,” Paola Gargiulo said.

“You get the professional haters and imbeciles, but at the same time in Italy there is a much larger number of people who are in solidarity with Segre.”

As a mark of solidarity, Milan's Mayor Beppe Sala has announced a demonstration to reject hate and racism.

“Milan is Liliana Segre’s city, she was born here and came back here,” Mr Sala said.

“Many of us will be there to express our friendship, esteem and sympathy for her."

Senator Segre was just 13 in January 1944 when she was deported to Auschwitz and separated from her father, who was later killed.

 Liliana Segre.
Liliana Segre.

The future senator was one of the 25 Italian children who managed to survive the concentration camp, 751 others were unable to make it out alive.

During a recent university lecture, Senator Segre mused on her treatment at the hands of her political naysayers.

"Haters are people we should feel sorry for," she said.

“Every minute of our lives must be lived to the full – whether enjoyed or suffered.”

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch