Rome Mayor Seeks To Block Funeral for Nazi War Criminal Erich Priebke

Convicted World War II Killer Died at 100

getty images

By Reuters

Published October 13, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Civil and church authorities have moved to prevent a funeral in Rome for Erich Priebke, a Nazi war criminal convicted of one of Italy’s worst wartime massacres, who died last week at the age of 100.

Priebke, who never apologised for his role in the killing of 335 civilians in the Ardeatine Caves near Rome in 1944 and who denied the Nazi Holocaust ever took place, was serving a life sentence under house arrest in the Italian capital when he died.

His death, like his 100th birthday in July, has brought into the open some of the deep tensions that remain in the aftermath of World War Two in Italy, which came close to civil war after the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini collapsed in 1943.

Rome daily Il Messaggero showed a graffito painted outside Priebke’s Rome residence saying “Honour to Priebke” in Italian with a Nazi swastika alongside.

The former SS officer’s lawyer Paolo Giachini told Reuters on Sunday the family would ask to have Priebke buried in Rome as soon as the formal registration procedures were completed and the body was released, but there was immediate opposition.

Ignazio Marino, the centre-left mayor of Rome, said it would be an insult for Priebke to be buried in the city.

“I will do everything in my power to prevent the burial of Erich Priebke in Rome,” he said in a statement.

Church authorities also said he would not receive a religious burial in Rome.

“There are no plans for any church funeral in Rome for Erich Priebke,” church spokesman Walter Insero was quoted as saying by the Catholic daily Avvenire.

In March 1944, Priebke was in charge of SS troops who executed the 335 people in retaliation for the killing of 33 German soldiers by a partisan group near Rome.

After the war he escaped to Argentina but was deported to Italy after he was interviewed on U.S. television and admitted his role in the massacre, which he said had been conducted against “terrorists”.

The Argentinian government has also refused to allow his body to be returned to be buried next to his wife.

Giachini said no formal request for a funeral had been made as yet and the family could decide to bury Priebke elsewhere.

“Burial in Rome would be the obvious thing. They wanted to bring him to Rome and when someone dies somewhere it’s normal to bury them there but we could also bury him somewhere else.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.