Family of Dead Nazi War Criminal Priebke Say His Body Has Gone Missing
The family of a Nazi war criminal whose funeral has been at the center of much global controversy say his corpse has gone missing.
Family lawyer Paolo Giachini said he and the former SS captain’s family lost track of Erich Priebke’s casket on Tuesday night, when they tried to hold a funeral Mass for him in a church compound south of Rome.
The former SS officer died last week at the age of 100 in Rome, where he spent his latter days under house arrest for his role in a wartime massacre that left 335 Italian civilians dead.
After much debate, and the refusal by Argentina, where he had spent 50 years of his life, to take his body, as well as the Vatican declining him funeral rights, a fringe Catholic group in Italy said it would give Priebke a funeral.
However, angry residents of Albano Laziale objected to the ceremony being held in the town, which is 20 km from the caves on the outskirts of Rome where the massacre was carried out.
“There was an abduction of the body by about 30 people, police or intelligence services, and they beat up four people who were holding a vigil,” Priebke family lawyer Giachini was quoted by Reuters as saying. “Tell us where the body of Erich Priebke is. His children have asked me to get it back.”
A Rome police spokesman said the body had to be moved because of concerns about public order.
“The police did their duty,” Maurizio Scandale said. “We took it and moved it somewhere else. We did not steal it.”