News / Europe

Family Demand Return of Nazi War Criminal Priebke's Body

Anti-fascist demonstrators shout as a police van carrying the coffin of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke leaves, in Albano Laziale near Rome, early Oct. 16, 2013.Anti-fascist demonstrators shout as a police van carrying the coffin of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke leaves, in Albano Laziale near Rome, early Oct. 16, 2013.
x
Anti-fascist demonstrators shout as a police van carrying the coffin of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke leaves, in Albano Laziale near Rome, early Oct. 16, 2013.
Anti-fascist demonstrators shout as a police van carrying the coffin of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke leaves, in Albano Laziale near Rome, early Oct. 16, 2013.
Reuters
The family of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke demanded the return of his body on Thursday after his funeral was disrupted by protesters and his coffin taken away by Italian authorities.

Priebke died last week, aged 100, in Rome, where he spent the end of his life under house arrest for his role in the killing of 335 civilians in 1944, one of Italy's worst wartime massacres. He never apologized for his crimes.

Authorities moved his coffin to a military airport late on Tuesday after clashes between neo-Nazis and residents of Albano Laziale, where the funeral was to be held. Residents objected to the ceremony being held in the town, which is 20 km (12 miles) from the caves on the outskirts of Rome where the massacre took place.

“There was an abduction of the body by about thirty people, police or intelligence services, and they beat four people who were holding vigil,” lawyer Paolo Giachini told Italian media.

“Tell us where the body of Erich Priebke is. His children have asked me to get it back.”

Giachini said Priebke's family would seek redress after his body was taken and for “acts of violence” against those keeping vigil at the Italian headquarters of the renegade Catholic Society of Saint Pius X, which had offered to hold the funeral.

Giachini said he did not know if Priebke's body was still at the Pratica di Mare airport. A spokesman for the Rome police had no immediate comment.

Argentina, to where Priebke escaped after the war, refused to allow his body to return to be buried next to his wife. His hometown in Germany has also resisted providing a grave, fearing it could become a neo-Nazi pilgrimage site, and there is widespread opposition to his burial in Italy.

The German Embassy in Rome said they had been in contact with Giachini, but did not give any details.

Giachini's office on Thursday released a video statement by Priebke taken before his death, in which he defended his role in the 1944 massacre.

“It was a terrible thing for us to have to do this,” Priebke said, interviewed in Italian wearing a white shirt and black waistcoat against a backdrop of bookshelves. “It was not possible [to refuse]... this was an order from Hitler.”

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid