Fate of Priebke's body still unknown
17 October 2013
Italian military base Pratica di Mare
ROME - The fate of former SS officer Erich Priebke's corpse still remained unknown Thursday after Italian authorities suspended the funeral and seized the body.
The order to interrupt the funeral was issued by the prefect of Rome, Giuseppe Pecoraro, who said that the funeral "was turning into a neo-Nazi rally." A group of over 500 protesters and Nazi sympathisers had gathered outside the funeral and tensions began to grow as the two groups clashed upon the arrival of the hearse which carried the former Nazi's body.
Relatives of Priebke have argued that the the body "was seized" and demand "to know where it is," said family lawyer Paolo Giachini. Ignazio Marino, the mayor of Rome, has said that "the body of Erich Priebke is now in Pratica di Mare," a military base located southwest of Rome.
In a final interview released shortly after his death, Priebke was quoted as denying the Nazis gassed Jews during the Holocaust. Furthermore, he accused the West of fabricating the crimes in order to cover up their own criminal acts.
Now it remains difficult to find an appropriate place of burial for the controversial war criminal. Argentina, where Priebke had spent nearly 50 years in hiding post WWII, has denied a request to repatriate his body, while the town of Hennigsdorf, Germany where Priebke was born has declared it will not allow the former Nazi to be buried there.
A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry stated that they "have no responsibility in the affair."