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89-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Under Protection after Receiving 200 Racist Threats a Day

Liliana Segre, who was named an Italian 'Senator for Life' in January 2018, was only 13 when she was sent to Auschwitz , the Nazi death camp in Austria.


Updated:November 8, 2019, 4:44 PM IST
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89-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Under Protection after Receiving 200 Racist Threats a Day
Liliana Serge has unwittingly sparked a debate about antisemitism in Italy Image credit: Associated Press

An 89-year-old Holocaust survivor has been taken under police protection after the Italian woman started getting anti-Semitic threats on social media and off it.

Liliana Segre, who was named "Senator for Life" in Italy in January 2018, was only 13 when she was sent to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in Austria.

However, Segre has been reportedly getting over 200 daily aggressive attacks and threats of attack on social media, the Foundation Jewish Contemporary Documentation Center, Milan, said. One of its members told CNN News18 that it was not uncommon for Jewish leaders or people of importance to be subjected to threats in Italy.

Revelation of the incident has launched an intense debate about antisemitism in Italy, which was a fascist dictatorship until the end of World War II.

In response to the attacks, Segre called for the creation of a parliamentary committee to combat hate, racism and anti-Semitism in Italy. Her motion was approved by Parliament last week. However, Italy's right-wing parties sat the vote out. The voting which was held at a soccer stadium, also saw racist chants in the background, has drawn international attention to the anti-Semitic and racist attitudes in Italy as well as the role politicians play in sanctioning, even encouraging such attitudes.

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

While there isn't a known official figure of the casualties in Auschwitz, historians estimate at least 1.3 million Jews and other political prisoners were sent to the Austrian death camp between 1940-1945. at least 1.1 million oft hese people never made it out alive.

(With inputs from Associated Press)

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