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Italian Police Apprehend Teenage Girls Behind Brutal Antisemitic Attack on Jewish Child

A 12-year-old Italian Jewish boy has been the target of a vicious antisemitic attack in a municipal park by two older teenagers who subjected him to a stream of insults.

The boy, named as “Marco,” was chatting with friends last Sunday in the park in the town of Campiglia Marittima, near Livorno in Tuscany, where he lives with his parents. Two 15-year-old girls approached him and told him to be quiet, before calling him a “dirty Jew.” The assailants then spat at the boy and proceeded to assault him with punches and kicks. They also told him that he would “die in the ovens” — a reference to the gas chambers used to exterminate Jewish inmates of Nazi concentration camps.

Local police have since apprehended the two teenagers, dubbed “antisemitic bullies” in the local press, who will now face charges in the Juvenile Court in Florence.

Interviewed by local media outlets, the boy’s father highlighted that no-one came to the defense of his son.

“Nobody in that public park where the attack took place said anything, nobody defended my son,” the father said. “I can’t explain what happened, I only know that my son was terrified and will never forget what happened.”

His son had come “home in tears, his clothes were marked with spit,” the father continued. “He immediately ran to the sink to clean his jacket and sweatshirt. He was desperate. An unbearable humiliation. I had the feeling of having returned to the terrible years of the [wartime fascist regime’s] racial laws.”

Vittorio Mosserio, the head of the Jewish community in Livorno, said that the attack had been particularly shocking coming a few days before international Holocaust Memorial Day on Jan. 27.

“Now let’s try to understand what’s in the heads of these girls, what’s behind the aggression by two 15-year-olds,” Mosserio added.

Liliana Segre, a Holocaust survivor who is an Italian senator-for-life, expressed indignation over the attack.

“These are things that amaze me, but unfortunately I am used to it,”  Segre, who has faced frequent harassment from antisemites, told the AP news agency.