Italian politician refers to Holocaust survivor by her Auschwitz tattoo number

An Italian politician referred to well-known Holocaust survivor, Senator Liliana Segre, by her concentration camp tattoo number in a Facebook comment, reports the JTA.

Fabio Meroni, who represents the far-right Northern League in the city council of the Italian town Lissone, was strongly criticised after referring to Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre by her Auschwitz tattoo number in a Facebook comment. The politician was judging Segre’s public support for the government’s COVID-19 health measures that urge people to get vaccinated. “…all that was missing [in the vaccine debate] was… 75190.”

Meroni apologised in a new post on Saturday: “I want to apologize to Senator Liliana Segre, it was not my intention in any way to offend you and if one day I will have the honor of being able to speak to you, I will personally explain my thoughts.”

Segre survived the Nazi death camp at the age of 13, and has been an outspoken critic of the far right and an activist for preserving the memory of the Holocaust. She was made senator for life in 2018, one of the five presidential appointees among the Italian Senate’s 321 lawmakers.

Meroni’s supporters claim that the politician was merely pointing out certain parallels between the current government COVID-19 measures and the past persecution of Jews, without meaning to insult Segre.

Meroni wrote that he used Segre’s number because Facebook would have censored his remark if he named her.