Even in death, Nazi Erich Priebke is a hated man.
The Nazi war criminal spent the last 15 years of his life under house arrest in Italy for his role in a massacre at Italy’s Ardeatine Caves that left 335 people dead, including 75 Jews,
He was to be buried in Argentina, where he fled after World War II and where he had burial plans, but Argentina ruled out his burial there upon his death late last week.
On Sunday, the former SS officer’s lawyer Paolo Giachini told Reuters 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 civil and church authorities there also protested the plan immediately after it became public.
“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.
Efraim Zuroff, who heads The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, told La Stampa that Priebke should be returned to the place of his birth, Germany, which has the “best laws” to avoid the funeral becoming a neo-Nazi rally. “The best thing would be to send the body back to Germany for it to be incinerated,” Zuroff said.
“That would be the most efficient way to leave no trace of a Nazi criminal like Priebke,” he said. “Hitler’s body was also burnt and that was the best solution because it allowed the destruction of everything Nazism represented,” he said.