Italy: 12-year-old boy insulted and attacked for being Jewish

News of anti-Semitic incident comes as Italy prepares to mark International Holocaust Day.

Italian police are investigating an alleged anti-Semitic attack on a 12-year-old boy by teenagers in a village near Livorno, in the Tuscany region of Italy.

The incident occurred on Sunday in a park near the boy's home at Venturina Terme, in the coastal Campiglia Marittima area, and was reported to authorities by his parents on Tuesday.

The altercation began after the boy was insulted by two girls, aged 15, part of a group of teens that were not among his circle of friends.

"You should shut up because you are Jewish", the girls allegedly said to the boy who stood up for himself before being pushed, kicked, hit and spat upon.

The anti-Semitic insults hurled at him included: "You should die in the oven."

The boy's father, a well-known figure in the Florentine Jewish community, said that nobody intervened to defend his son.

"When he came home his coat was covered in spit" - the man told newspaper La Repubblica: "He was trying to hide it. He was trembling. He's still scared, in shock."

The boy's father said other anti-Semitic incidents had occurred in the past, when children in the boy's primary school wrote messages with swastikas, however this time he said: "We can't stay silent anymore."

On Tuesday, when news of the incident first broke, the boy's classmates reportedly gathered around to offer him their support, while on Wednesday evening - the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day - a candlelit vigil will be held on the streets of Venturina Terme in solidarity with the boy.

The attack has provoked a wave of indignation and solidarity from politicians, Jewish figures and the general public in Italy.

Interior minister Luciana Lamorgese said the "vile anti-Semitic attack arouses deep indignation", adding that it "does not only affect the young man's family and the Jewish community" but everyone.

Liliana Segre, the 91-year-old Holocaust survivor and senator-for-life, condemned the attack, saying: "These are things that don't surprise me, unfortunately I'm used to it", adding: "History repeats itself."

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Address 57021 Venturina Terme, Province of Livorno, Italy

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Italy: 12-year-old boy insulted and attacked for being Jewish

57021 Venturina Terme, Province of Livorno, Italy