News / Europe

    Angry Protests Mark Funeral of Nazi War Criminal in Italy

    Demonstrators hold up a sheet with writing reading in Italian "Priebke murderer" outside the Society of St. Pius X, a schismatic Catholic group, where Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke funeral was taking place, in Albano Laziale, on the outskirts of Rome, ODemonstrators hold up a sheet with writing reading in Italian "Priebke murderer" outside the Society of St. Pius X, a schismatic Catholic group, where Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke funeral was taking place, in Albano Laziale, on the outskirts of Rome, O
    x
    Demonstrators hold up a sheet with writing reading in Italian "Priebke murderer" outside the Society of St. Pius X, a schismatic Catholic group, where Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke funeral was taking place, in Albano Laziale, on the outskirts of Rome, O
    Demonstrators hold up a sheet with writing reading in Italian "Priebke murderer" outside the Society of St. Pius X, a schismatic Catholic group, where Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke funeral was taking place, in Albano Laziale, on the outskirts of Rome, O
    Reuters
    Italians shouted abuse and kicked the hearse of a Nazi war criminal at his funeral ceremony on Tuesday, held near Rome despite attempts by the local mayor to prevent it.
     
    Former German SS officer Erich Priebke had been serving a life sentence under house arrest in Rome for his role in the killing of 335 civilians in 1944 in caves near the capital, one of Italy's worst wartime massacres. Priebke, who died last week aged 100, never apologized.
     
    Scores of protesters shouting “Executioner! Executioner!” rushed at the funeral car as it passed through the gates of the Italian headquarters of the fringe right-wing Catholic Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) in Albano Laziale, television pictures showed.
     
    Lines of riot police struggled to hold back the crowd outside the private ceremony, which took place 20 km (12 miles) from the site of the massacre after the police chief overruled a banning order issued by the local mayor Nicola Marini, Italian media reported.
     
    Priebke's body was expected to be returned to Rome to be cremated.
     
    “He should be cremated and chucked out to sea. There should never be a place where this person can rest in peace,” Bruna Bernardini, a resident of Rome's centuries-old Jewish ghetto, told Reuters.
     
    "Right to funeral"
     
    The head of the traditionalist SSPX in Italy defended his organization's actions, saying every Christian had a right to a funeral. Rome's center-left mayor Ignazio Marino had said Priebke's burial in the capital would be an insult.
     
    The rebel SSPX, which is at odds with mainstream Catholic teaching and has strained relations with Vatican, has been associated with far-right views in the past.
     
    Its British-born Bishop Richard Williamson, since expelled from the group, denied the Holocaust in an interview just before Pope Benedict lifted his excommunication ban in 2009, sparking a wave of criticism.
     
    The government in Argentina, where Priebke escaped to after the war, had earlier refused to allow his body to be returned.
     
    The town hall of Priebke's hometown of Hennigsdorf near Berlin also ruled out burying him there, fearing his grave could become a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis.
     
    About 40 neo-Nazis, some wearing Priebke masks, held an unauthorized torchlit ceremony in Hennigsdorf last year to mark the war criminal's 99th birthday.
     
    In March 1944, Priebke was in charge of SS troops who executed civilians in the Ardeatine Caves in retaliation for the killings of 33 German soldiers by a partisan group.
     
    Adolf Hitler had ordered occupation forces to respond by executing 10 Italians for every German killed. The victims were rounded up from jails, streets and homes.
     
    Priebke was deported from Argentina 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”.
     
    He was sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy in 1998.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora