MILAN, Italy (AP) — Fresh anti-Semitic writings appeared in Italian cities and towns as the country marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, officials said Tuesday.
The incidents included a racist placard tacked onto a Democratic Party bulletin board near Vicenza, a swastika in a Rome high school and an anti-Semitic scrawl on a building inhabited by the daughter of a Jewish wartime partisan in Turin. They were reported on Monday, as Italy marked Holocaust Memorial Day, and on Tuesday, as ceremonies continued.
The vice president of the Jewish Community in Rome, Ruben Della Rocca, said that anti-Semitism is on the rise “and we need to be more on guard.”
“Never forget that anti-Semitism is a virus that infects all society, the thermometer of the level of civility in a society are the anti-bodies against anti-Semitism,’’ Della Rocca was quoted by the news agency LaPresse as saying.
Maria Bigliani, whose apartment building in Turin was defaced with the writing, “Die dirty Jew,’’ said she would not remove the message for now. “It is testimony of an uncivilized, ignorant and racist act,” she said.
Bigliani, 65, discovered the writing on Monday morning, and told La Repubblica daily that she reported it immediately to police.
The placard placed on a Democratic Party bulletin board near Vicenza read: “January 27, the day of memory, let’s remember to reopen the ovens,” referring to the crematoria at Nazi death camps.
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi condemned as a “shameful act’’ the appearance of a swastika and anti-Semitic writings in a high school in the city on Tuesday, as city officials marked the Holocaust Memorial Day with a ceremony.
The incidents come days after anti-Semitic writing was scrawled on the door of a now-deceased member of the Italian World War II anti-Fascist resistance who survived a Nazi concentration camp. Some 3,000 people living in the Piedmont town of Mondovi, where the writings appeared on the house where Lidia Becaria Rolfi lived until her death, marched to protest growing anti-Semitism and in solidarity with Rolfi’s son, who lives in the house.
Observers have noted a growing boldness in anti-Semitic and racist attitudes in Italy, which have included online attacks against an 89-year-old Auschwitz survivor and senator-for-life, Liliana Segre, who has been given a police escort. Segre has said she will suspend schools visits to discuss her experiences under the Nazi-Fascist dictatorships in April, citing age, LaPresse reported.
An Italian parliamentary commission has approved a resolution calling on the government to enact initiatives to stop “the exponential growth in episodes of physical and verbal violence toward Jews.’’