Yad Vashem marks 70th anniversary of Nazi raids in Rome
Priebke reminder of murders, say Italian immigrants to Israel16 October, 18:33
The case of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke, who died Friday in Rome, is a reminder of the importance of memory, added Vito Anav, president of the Association of Italian Immigrants, during the ceremony at the Yad Vashem, Israel's official shrine of remembrance of the Holocaust.
Priebke was 100 when he died and may have claimed he was only following orders during the murder of 335 men and boys in Rome in 1944, but that does not mean such men can "transform themselves from sinister murderers into a poor old man worthy of forgiveness," said Anav.
During the ceremony, a large screen projected images of Italian president Giorgio Napolitano who spoke at Rome's Synagogue where he endorsed a proposed amendment to Italy's penal code making Holocaust denial a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Napolitano said that the Italian measure would also "serve as an example" for other parliaments.
On October 16, 1943, more than 1,000 Roman Jews were deported to the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps. Very few returned.