Thousands march in support of Italian lawmaker, a Holocaust survivor, targeted with threats

The threats against Liliana Segre started after she proposed a new parliamentary panel against racism, discrimination, anti-Semitism and online hatred. (Marco Piraccini/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — An Italian senator and Holocaust survivor who was put under police protection after receiving anti-Semitic threats online was escorted through downtown Milan by the mayors of Italian cities and ordinary citizens in a show of support.

Some of Liliana Segre’s escorts in the march on Tuesday evening carried a large banner reading “Hatred has no future,” The Associated Press reported.

Segre, 89, a senator for life, was provided with a police escort last month after she proposed a new parliamentary panel against racism, discrimination, anti-Semitism and online hatred. Following passage of the proposal, she began receiving about 200 negative messages, including anti-Semitic threats and vitriol, a day.

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About 1,000 mayors wearing sashes in the colors of the Italian flag marched with Serge in a show of support organized by the Italian mayors association. Thousands of supporters marched along and lined the streets, according to the report.

Segre was 13 when she was deported to Auschwitz in 1944.

“I have known hatred. I have known what it means to be a reject of the society to which I believed I belonged,” Serge told the crowd, AP reported. “I heard the words of hatred, hateful and insulting, and I saw with my eyes the realization of a ferocious program prepared from hatred.”

Segre also supports a National Museum of Resistance. It was announced this week that the museum will be built in Milan.

British Jewish lawmaker Ruth Smeeth told a local newspaper last month that she is being bombarded with death threats, nearly half of them anti-Semitic, and requires an escort at all times.