An Italian Jewish survivor of the Auschwitz extermination camp was under the protection of police officers on Thursday after she received hundreds of death threats on social media from far-right fanatics.
89-year-old Liliana Segre — a life senator in the Italian parliament — had called on fellow legislators to establish a committee to combat racist and antisemitic hatred. Italy’s right-wing and nationalist parties — including former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party — all abstained on the vote.
After the vote, Segre — who was deported to Auschwitz at the age of 13 — said that the abstentions made her feel “like a Martian in the Senate.”
“I appealed to the conscience of everyone and thought that a commission against hatred as a principle would be accepted by all,” she said on Oct. 31.
Since then, she has reported receiving as many as 200 hate messages a day.
The security measures that were approved include Segre being accompanied in public by two paramilitary carabinieri officers.
Meanwhile, the Milan public prosecutor’s office said it had opened an investigation into the hate messages targeting the senator and had requested the assistance of Italy’s anti-terror police.
Born in Milan in 1930, Segre fled from Nazi persecution in Italy with her father in December 1943.
After failing to secure refuge in Switzerland, the pair were sent by train to the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland the following month, where her father and grandparents were murdered.
Along with other Jewish prisoners transferred from Auschwitz in January 1945, Segre was taken to the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany.
Weeks later she was moved to another camp operated by the Nazis which was eventually liberated by the Soviet Red Army.
Segre was made an Italian senator for life by President Sergio Mattarella in January 2018.