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Holocaust Survivor Liliana Segre Speaks at AS Milan

By Sara Griffith
Holocaust Survivor Liliana Segre Speaks at AS Milan

Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, nominated Mrs. Segre a Life Senator in January 2018 ahead of the UN’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day (ASM). _______________________________________________________________________ In January 1944, Mrs. Liliana Segre was deported from Binario 21 of Milan’s Central Station to Auschwitz, along with more than 775 Italian children under the age of 14. Only 25 of those 775 children survived. Mrs. Segre was one of them. In January 2018, Italian President Sergio Mattarella honored Mrs. Segre as Life Senator just prior to the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January. This nomination has catapulted this extraordinary woman to the attention of the broader public and to many other schools. Today, at the age of 87, Mrs. Segre vividly recalls every moment and feeling that she experienced as a child during her imprisonment at Auschwitz. Although she has not addressed a school group for many years, Mrs. Segre shared her story and a powerful message of encouragement with students at The American School of Milan (ASM). More than 220 upper school students and faculty at ASM attended her presentation, which was as heartbreaking as it was inspiring. Mrs. Segre shared with students that she did not speak of her experience for many years. She kept it a secret from even her closest friends. It was only when she realized that she would rather speak up than be a silent victim and survivor that she was able to find the freedom and the strength to share her story. During her presentation, while recounting the details of the suffering that she had endured during her 18 months as a prisoner under the hands and at the whims of her Nazi enforcers, she reinforced to students some simple yet powerful messages about how she was able to survive. She encouraged students that even through profound loss and pain, there are choices to be made. “We are stronger than we believe.” “Stop saying, I cannot take it anymore. As human beings we have incredible strength.” She reminded students to “follow your own path, one step at a time.” Most importantly, she advised all that “indifference is a terrible thing—stronger than violence.” Her presentation was sponsored by the ASM Fund for Excellence, our fundraising program designed to bring the extraordinary to ASM. This program encourages teachers to make proposals to bring renowned authors in residence, scientists, economists, artists, musicians or other extraordinary people to come to work with or speak to ASM students. This event was proposed by ASM Italian teacher Daniela Somaruga, who was so proud to invite Mrs. Segre to ASM. “Thank you to the Fund for Excellence for this unique opportunity… Meeting Mrs. Segre was one of the dreams of my life. I personally felt very overwhelmed by many emotions during Mrs. Segre’s powerful speech. I am sure it has been an unforgettable experience, both for our students and for us as educators.” Watch Mrs. Segre’s presentation

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