Photo story (Clockwise from top left): (1) Priebke showed no remorse in the video recorded just before his death, he rather accused the resistance fighters for provoking the Nazi attack in which he was involved (2) Riot police in Albano Laziale moves in to end clashes between anti-Nazi protestors and Neo Nazi supporters on 15th October (3) Hundreds of anti Nazi protesters shouted ‘murderer’ and kicked the coffin carrying car as Priebke’s coffin passed on the day his funeral was halted (4) On 15th October, the locals in Albano Laziale, Italy, protesting the funeral of war criminal Priebke with banner reading ‘Priebke executioner’
Since his death on 11th October 2013, the dead body of infamous Nazi war criminal former SS Captain Erich Priebke has been lying in limbo for two weeks. His lawyer Paolo Giachini claimed that an ‘Osama Bin Laden style burial at sea after cremation’ has been avoided for his body as his relatives have won a negotiation to bury the corpse in a secret location in Germany or Italy. The Daily Mail reported that the coffin of Priebke has been seized by the Italian Government and kept at a military airport near Rome since violent protests halted his funeral on 15th October 2013.
After the mayor of Rome, Priebke’s home town Hennigsdorf in Germany and Argentina refused permission for him to be buried there, Giachini has been fighting to ensure a burial for him. On 15th October evening, more than 500 angry protesters in Albano Laziale, Italy shouted ‘murderer’, ‘executioner’ and ‘take him to the landfill’ as Priebke’s coffin passed and engaged in violent clashes with the Neo-Nazi groups and Nazi sympathizers.
Argentinean authority first refused to allow the return of his corpse to be buried next to his wife Alicia Stoll. They said that allowing such war criminal to be buried ‘would be an affront to the humanity’. Also an unprecedented ban on holding Priebke’s funeral in any Catholic church in Rome had been issued by the Vatican. But the Society of Saint Pius X, a traditionalist Catholic organization that has been accused of racism and anti Semitic views, offered and tried to hold the funeral ceremony on 15th October.
The demand of the anti Nazi protesters to have the war criminals dead body cremated and buried at sea like the inglorious terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden was refused by Priebke’s family and friends. Former SS captain Erich Priebke spent his last 17 years under house arrest in Rome. He was serving a life sentence for his heinous WWII war crimes involving massacre of 335 Italian men and boys, 70 of whom were Jews, at the Ardeatine Caves, Rome on 24th March 1944. The massacre was a Nazi retaliation against a partisan bomb attack that killed 33 German Soldiers. It is also considered the worst atrocity of the WWII in Italy.
It is feared that the Neo Nazi followers would turn any Nazi grave into a pilgrimage site. Giachini said that the Jewish community wanted Priebke to have the same fate as of Bin Laden, ‘with his ashes scattered at the sea to avoid creation of a place of pilgrimage’. On 16th October, Giuseppe Pecoraro, an official in Rome province, said that the Italian authorities had initiated talks with Germany.
On 20th October, Priebke’s lawyer Giachini said that everything had been solved and ‘an agreement has been reached with authorities for the burial of Priebke in a secret place’. He also said that the place could be in between Italy and Germany or in either of the two nations. Gaiachini also said that people ‘will be able to pay homage to the figure that became symbol of freedom, dignity & human endurance’. This statement from Giachini hinted that Priebke’s burial place would eventually become known to the sympathizers.
Even in death Erich Priebke has continued to cause agony to the relatives of his victims. In a video recorded before his death was published just after his death. In it Priebke showed no remorse for his crimes, instead he blamed the resistance partisan fighters for provoking the German attack. He also said that the resistance fighters ‘knew the consequences and they did it anyway’. Priebke also claimed that it was impossible to refuse direct orders from Hitler. ‘There was no other way’ He added.
After the WWII he was captured by the Allied troops but the Gestapo Captain escaped from a British prisoner of war camp in Rimini, Italy on New Year’s Eve 1947. He fled to Argentina and ran a cafeteria there. Priebke lived openly there for almost 50 years until he was tracked down by US reporter Sam Donaldson of ABC new in 1994. He was deported to Italy in 1995 and handed a life sentence. But because of his old age he and another Nazi war criminal both were put under house arrest.