January 24, 2020 / 5:12 PM / 24 days ago

Anti-Jewish graffiti sparks anger in Italy ahead of Holocaust day

ROME (Reuters) - Anti-Semitic graffiti was found scrawled on the door of the son of a Holocaust survivor in the northwestern Italian town of Mondovi on Friday, triggering outrage from politicians and rights groups.

The words “Juden Hier” (Jews Here) were written above a Star of David on the door, recalling the signs put on buildings in Nazi Germany to mark the homes and businesses of local Jews.

The house in Mondovi used to belong to Lidia Rolfi, who joined the resistance against Nazi invaders in World War Two but was swiftly captured and deported to the Ravensbrueck concentration camp in Germany in 1944.

She managed to survive and later wrote several books denouncing the horrors of the camps in an effort to raise awareness of the Nazi atrocities. She died in 1996 and her son Aldo now lives in the house.

He published an article in a local newspaper earlier this week to mark the forthcoming Jan. 27 Holocaust Memorial Day.

“This is a very serious sign of intolerance and provocation right at the time when we remember the Shoah,” said Milena Santerini, national coordinator for the fight against anti-Semitism in Italy.

Politicians also expressed outrage.

“This is where the culture of hate leads. What else has to happen to make people understand that we must all mobilize against this madness?” said Nicola Zingaretti, head of the center-left coalition Democratic Party (PD).

Another Holocaust survivor, Liliana Segre, was placed under police protection in November after she received threats from far-right fanatics, highlighting a rise in anti-Semitism in Italy.

The Anti-Semitism Observatory registered 251 episodes of anti-Semitism across the country in 2019 up from 181 in 2018.

Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Andrew Heavens

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