She Sought to Combat Hate, Only to Become a Target

Auschwitz survivor Liliana Segre under police protection following death threats
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2019 10:50 AM CST
Auschwitz Survivor, Black Soccer Star Suffer Hate in Italy
Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre speaks with young students in Milan, Italy, on Jan. 24, 2018.   (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

An Italian senator for life and Holocaust survivor asked Parliament to establish a badly needed committee to fight hate. What followed might just prove her point. Liliana Segre, now under police protection, has been receiving some 200 hateful and anti-Semitic messages per day since Parliament passed her motion to establish a commission to combat racism, anti-Semitism, and other hatred directed at ethnic and religious groups last week. Members of Italy's right-wing parties had abstained from the vote, leaving Segre stunned. "I appealed to the conscience of everyone and thought that a commission against hatred as a principle would be accepted by all," said the 89-year-old, whose father and grandparents died at the Auschwitz death camp, where Segre was sent at age 13, per the BBC.

It was decided Wednesday that Segre should be given police protection as the Milan public prosecutor's office investigates the threats. Two paramilitary officers will now accompany her whenever she's in public. But Segre is just one target of such abuse in Italy, where there's "a growing boldness in anti-Semitic and racist attitudes," per Haaretz. At Sunday's Serie A soccer match in Verona, Brescia striker Mario Balotelli kicked the ball toward Hellas Verona fans and threatened to walk off the field, citing racist abuse, including monkey noises in the stands, per CNN. "To the 'people' in this end who made the monkey noises: Shame on you," he later wrote in an Instagram story, using the hashtag #NoToRacism. He also thanked fellow players for their "solidarity." Multiple other black players have suffered similar abuse from fans in Italy this year, reports Deutsche Welle. (More Italy stories.)

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