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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid