Nazi War Criminal Erich Priebke Buried in Anonymous Italy Prison Grave

Controversy Erupted Over Funeral for 100-Year-Old Killer

Nazi No More: Italian protesters jeer at funeral for convicted Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke.
Getty images
Nazi No More: Italian protesters jeer at funeral for convicted Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke.

By Reuters

Published November 07, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke was secretly buried in an anonymous grave in a cemetery inside the walls of an Italian prison complex, an Italian newspaper reported on Thursday.

La Repubblica said the coffin of the man convicted of one of Italy’s worst wartime atrocities was taken from a military airport and buried on the grounds of the undisclosed prison late last month.

It said the grave was marked by a simple wooden cross with no name but merely a number so family members would be able to identify it. The prison graveyard had been abandoned for years and was overgrown with weeds, the paper said.

Priebke’s lawyer did not respond to several telephone requests for comment. Italian officials had no comment.

The former SS officer died last month, aged 100, in Rome, where he spent the end of his life under house arrest for his role in the killing of 335 civilians at the Ardeatine Caves in Rome in 1944.

The Catholic Church denied him a public funeral Mass and neither Italy nor his native Germany wanted the body, fearing his burial site could become a place of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis.

Priebke, who called himself “the last prisoner of war,” was extradited to Italy in 1995 from Argentina and definitively convicted in 1998 after several appeals.

An aide to the Gestapo chief in Rome at the time of the massacre, Herbert Kappler, Priebke admitted to helping draw up a list of the civilian victims, ticking their names off as they were shot in the back of the head, and to personally shooting two of them.

The executions were in reprisal for a partisan bomb that had killed 33 German soldiers a day before.

Priebke said he had had to obey the orders or he would have been killed.


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!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • 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.