Despite the pelting rain, hundreds of people crowded around the Holocaust Memorial last week to show their solidarity with senator for life Liliana Segre. According to the event organizers, about 5,000 showed up under umbrellas, to show that “Milan does not hate”, just as the initiative supported by Bella ciao, Milano!, ANPI and ANED was called.
“Milan has proved it still has antibodies against hatred. My mother is not giving up on her work,” said Luciano Belli Paci, Senator Segre’s son, who attended the event with his siblings Federica and Alberto. Support came from various participants in the rally, including some political representatives.
The microphone installed in front of the Memorial was used to read various testimonies, ranging from Liliana Segre’s to Primo Levi’s accounts of the Lager, and to call society to speak out against hatred, racism and antisemitism.
“Milan has made rights into a common patrimony. We are grateful to Liliana Segre for her engagement and courage; these lilies are the symbol of our support. She, whose purity of intention and determination to stand up against hatred are inspiring, has experienced the revolting antisemitism we are all witnessing today,” said vice-mayor Anna Scavuzzo in her opening speech.
Gadi Schoenheit, board member of the local Jewish community of Milan, pointed out that the antisemitic threat is real: “We ourselves would not ‘cry wolf’, if the wolf were not actually here,” he underlined, giving regards from President of the Jewish community Milo Hasbani. “From Denmark to Italy, antisemitism is spreading around Europe like wildfire,” he added.
ANPI Milan’s President Roberto Cenati said, “Liliana Segre has requested the word ‘indifference’ to be carved out in a wall at the Memorial entrance. We are here to prove that we do not remain indifferent in the face of hatred.”
In front of the Holocaust Memorial, the very place from where Liliana Segre began her journey to Auschwitz in January 1943, the Milanese have sent out a clear message against hatred and indifference, in solidarity with their illustrious fellow citizen.
Translated by Claudia Azzalini and revised by Mattia Stefani, 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.