News / Europe

Rome Vows to Block Funeral of Convicted War Criminal Priebke

FILE - Convicted former Nazi SS officer Erich Priebke (C) and his lawyer, Paolo Giachini (L), are seen exiting a church after a mass in northern Rome October 17, 2010.
FILE - Convicted former Nazi SS officer Erich Priebke (C) and his lawyer, Paolo Giachini (L), are seen exiting a church after a mass in northern Rome October 17, 2010.
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 apologized 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 graffiti painted outside Priebke's Rome residence saying “Honor 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 center-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.”

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid