“Today we are not talking about haters. We are only talking about those who love,” said Liliana Segre to thousands of people who welcomed her in Genoa for the awarding of the international recognition assigned every year by the Centro Primo Levi.
Many listened to her in the Palazzo Ducale, where the ceremony took place, some others followed her speech on the large screen which was set up in the street for the occasion. This is how Senator for life Segre was greeted in Genoa on the very day in which she was named honorary citizen of the city.
The crowd in the street responded actively and unanimously to those insults, threats and hatred Segre is forced to live with every day.
“The violence she has undergone and undoubtedly suffered for has sparked massive support towards her from a large part of the public opinion in Italy. This shows that many people have now come to understand that her work for our country over all these years has made an impact that will not be easily erased,” said Piero Dello Strologo, President of the Centre and long-time supporter of the prize.
“This year more than ever, the prize was awarded to someone who has proven to deserve it above anyone else. With her civil and political engagement and her testimony as a Holocaust survivor, Segre has become for many people the living symbol of the courage and determination we should all show when fighting against any kind of intolerance, racism, antisemitism and incitement to violence, while respecting the principle of freedom,” Dello Strologo added.
The motivation for the awarding was read at the beginning of the ceremony: “By virtue of her political and civil commitment to keeping the memory of the tragic past alive as well as fighting against prejudice and indifference to tragedies in present times, and for her determination in engaging in an open dialogue with other parts of society, inspired by the principles of liberty, democracy and respect for others.”
According to Genoa mayor Marco Bucci, who awarded her the honorary citizenship, “not only is Segre a symbol, she also plays a fundamental part in the moral preservation of memory and is actively contrasting intolerance, racism, antisemitism, hate speech and incitement to violence.”
Translated by Claudia Azzalini and revised by Sara Facelli, both students at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of Trieste University and interns at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.