Nazi Officer, War Criminal Erich Priebke Secretly Buried in Italian Jail Cemetery

Former SS Officer Erich Priebke in a 1995 Photo
Former SS Officer Erich Priebke in a 1995 Photo

A newspaper had released a report saying Ex-Nazi SS Captain Erich Priebke was  buried secretly in an Italian prison cemetery after a number of locations refused him a place of burial when he died last month at the age of 100.

Italian authorities had to keep his remains at a military airport located near Rome for days as they strained to find an appropriate burial site for him.

German authorities refused to take his body in same with Argentina, the country where the former Nazi SS officer lived before he was extradited into Italy in 1995.

The said newspaper, La Repubblica, revealed that Priebke’s body was laid to rest in a jail cemetery of an undisclosed location but added that the said cemetery “had not been used for burials for at least 20 years, some say 30”.

Pictures of the location were published by the said daily along with the report which was written by Ezio Mario, the paper’s editor, but these were blurry and only showed a number of crosses amidst overgrown grass in a space with walls, one grave of old stone and an iron gate. Mario even pointed out the cemetery’s location was on a hillside but gave no other indications.

Erich Priebke’s burial ceremony reportedly took place on a late October Sunday with only a handful of people knowing about it. The group present for the burial included a  three-member special government committee, the prison’s director as well as Priebke’s two sons.

Even the local residents and the mayor of the town where the cemetery is located were not informed to avoid protests or pilgrimages in Priebke’s grave. The report added that one of Priebke’s sons who currently lives in New York is expected to visit his father’s grave come December.

Erich Priebke had died on October 11 this year in Rome.

He passed away while serving house arrest for the war crimes he committed during WWII – he had an active role in the death of 335 civilians on Rome’s outskirts during the war.

The Vatican had declined granting him a funeral in Rome and his funeral ceremony which took place at a college with an administration composed of ultra-conservative Catholics and often accused of being antisemitic was troubled with rioting.

The Haaretz reports


Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE