Rome refuses funeral for war criminal Priebke
Son of Nazi war criminal lashes out14 October, 19:52
(ANSA) - Rome, October 14 - Refusals to permit a funeral or burial of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke continued to mount on Monday, sparking ire from Priebke's son across an ocean in Argentina.
The son of the former SS officer on Monday reacted angrily at the widespread and growing refusal of church and civic officials to permit his father's funeral or burial on their turf.
"Where should my father be buried? For me, even in Israel.
That way they'd be happy," said Jorge Priebke, speaking to ANSA by phone from his home in Bariloche, a town in the foothills of the Andes in southwestern Argentina.
Priebke last week died in Rome at the age of 100 while serving a life sentence under house arrest for his role in a 1944 reprisal at a quarry known as the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome in which 335 men and boys, including 75 Jews, were massacred.
The atrocity, ordered by Hitler a day after 33 SS policemen from the northern Italian German-speaking city of Bolzano were killed by a partisan bomb in Rome, was one of the worst war crimes in Italy in the Second World War.
On Monday, Roman mayor Ignazio Marino reiterated his refusal to allow any funeral, solemn ceremony or burial of Priebke to be permitted anywhere in Rome or its periphery.
"I share the choice of the Police Chief of Rome, Fulvio Della Rocca, to ban any form of public and solemn gathering for the death of the ex-Nazi official Erich Priebke in the city or the provinces," Marino said in a note on Monday.
Over the weekend, Marino had warned at least twice that no such ceremony would be allowed, and cited the support of the Rome prefecture for the decision.
Priebke's place of birth, the German town of Hennigsdord, located about 20 km northwest of Berlin, announced on Monday that it would not accept the body for burial, as Priebke was neither a resident nor did his family have a tomb.
The Argentinian government has also refused to allow Priebke's body to be returned to be buried next to his wife.
The mayor of Pomezia, a town south of Rome where a German military cemetery is located in Italy, also turned away Priebke on Monday, saying the cemetery only takes soldiers killed in the war.
When Priebke's lawyer, Paolo Giachini, suggested that the body be buried outside of Rome, and mentioned Viterbo as an option, the mayor of Viterbo, Leonardo Michelini, gave a flat out "No" and said the unpenitent former Nazi official's final burial place should be "kept secret for as long as possible" to keep the location from becoming "a reference point for right wing extremists".
Giachini also mentioned the possibility of giving his client Catholic rites in a protestant church after the Catholic church let it be known that no church funeral would be permitted for Priebke, a practising Catholic. "We have not denied to people close to Priebke the possibility of celebrating prayer and invocation of mercy in the home of the deceased," explained Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Vicar of Rome, on Monday. After Jewish Community in Rome threatened to lead street protests if Priebke is permitted a tomb in the Italian capital, Italian Premier Enrico address the Jewish organization on Monday saying, "In these days we have seen something that demonstrates that it is impossible to think that the passage of time closes the wounds of history. We must all act as a bulwark against feelings of hatred and death".