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!
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • 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.