Table of Contents
Liliana Segre’s tireless efforts in raising awareness about the atrocities of the Holocaust and advocating for a more inclusive society have cemented her as a living testament to the power of resilience and hope.
Her story serves as a reminder that even in the face of unimaginable adversity, humanity has the capacity to overcome and create positive change.
Liliana Segre’s Biography
Liliana Segre, OMRI, is an Italian Holocaust survivor and a prominent figure in the fight against racism and discrimination.
Segre was born in Milan on September 10, 1930, into a Jewish family. Her understanding of her Jewishness, however, emerged only after the Italian Racial Laws were implemented in 1938, which resulted in her expulsion from school at an early age.
During the height of the persecution of Italian Jews, Segre’s father, Alberto, concealed her at the home of a friend using forged documents.
Segre and her father attempted to flee to Switzerland in December 1943, when she was thirteen but were turned down by Swiss officials.
Soon after, she was detained by fascists and sent to several detention facilities before being deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in January 1944.
Segre endured the horrors of the Holocaust at Auschwitz, enduring forced labour and countless selections.
She had the serial number 75190 tattooed on her arm as a constant reminder of her incarceration. Despite her ordeal, Segre unexpectedly lived and was freed by the Red Army in May 1945.
Segre moved to the Marche region after the war, where she resided with her maternal grandparents, the only surviving members of her family.
She met Alfredo Belli Paci, a Catholic political prisoner and Holocaust survivor, in 1948. The couple married in 1951 and had three children.
Segre remained mute about her experiences in the concentration camps for many years, finding it difficult to reintegrate into society and encountering a lack of empathy from others around her.
In the 1990s, however, she chose to break her silence and share her tale, particularly with young students, in order to honour the millions who died and guarantee that their stories were not forgotten.
Segre’s testimonies and interviews have helped educate people about the Holocaust and the need to stand up to bigotry and discrimination.
She has taken part in films and research projects, providing unique insight into her own experiences. She has earned various honours, including honorary degrees from major universities, in appreciation of her outstanding services.
On the 80th anniversary of the Italian Racial Laws, President Sergio Mattarella appointed Segre as a senator for life for her remarkable patriotic merits in the social field.
She became the fourth woman in Italian history to hold this position.
Segre suggested, as a senator, the formation of a Parliamentary Control Commission on racism, antisemitism, and incitement to hatred and violence, which was later authorised by the Senate of the Republic in 2019.
Segre’s commitment to eliminating racism and bigotry has not been without its difficulties. She has received numerous online threats and has been appointed as a bodyguard for protection.
Nonetheless, she is committed to promoting tolerance, understanding, and justice.
Segre’s talks and public appearances continue to inspire future generations as advocates for peace and equality.
Her unrelenting dedication to a society free of bigotry and discrimination serves as a compelling reminder of the significance of remembering, educating, and speaking up for what is right.
Segre encouraged young people not to blame others for their shortcomings but rather to recognise their own strengths and potential in her final public speech in October 2020.
Her words struck a chord with hundreds of kids across Italy, demonstrating the lasting influence of her message.
Who Are Liliana Segre’s Parents?
Liliana Segre’s parents are Alberto Segre and Lucia Foligno.