VATICAN CITY – Holocaust survivor and life Senator Liliana Segre, 89, told Vatican News on last month’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day that she is “very concerned” about the “reemergence of feelings of hate.” Segre said “this wave isn’t anomalous” but is due to the economic crisis and “also the result of very wrong teachings, of nationalism and populism.”
“Young people, learn not to listen to those who yell the loudest,” she said.
Pope Francis also said “remembrance is dutiful” on that day.
He warned against becoming indifferent to the Shoah.
“If we lose the memory, we annihilate the future,” he said.
“May the anniversary of the Holocaust, the unspeakable cruelty that humanity discovered 75 years ago, be a call to stop, to be silent and remember,” he said. “We need this, so as not to become indifferent.”
On Jan. 25, Rome became the latest Italian city to make Segre an honorary citizen.
Segre survived Auschwitz as a girl. She was named senator for life by President Sergio Mattarella on Jan. 19, 2018.
Born into a Milanese Jewish family in 1930, Segre was expelled from her school after the promulgation of the Italian Racial Laws in 1938. In 1943 she was arrested with many members of her family and deported to Auschwitz.
After 1990 she started to speak to the public, especially young people, about her experience.
Segre was recently given a police escort after anti-Semitic threats against her.
Premier Giuseppe Conte said remembering the Shoah was “an antidote to barbarity.”
“The remembrance of the facts is fundamental so that this never happens again,” he said.
President Sergio Mattarella said the appearance of “Juden Hier” (Jews Here) scrawled on the home of the son of a Holocaust survivor in the northern town of Mondovì in late January of this year was “ignoble” and shows “how unfortunately anti-Semitism has not disappeared.”
He said “the Shoah transcends time and is a perennial warning.”
He also said that Jewish persecution under Fascism was “ferocious” and said “enough of whitewashing the crimes of Fascism.”
“The persecution of Jews in Italy was not watered down,” he said. “We must eradicate the virus of hatred and racism.”