Nazi War Criminal Erich Priebke Reported Buried in Italian Jail Cemetery

Secret burial followed days-long wait at airport, while Italian authorities struggled to find a suitable site.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

Erich Priebke, the Nazi war criminal who was refused burial in several locations after his death last month, has been secretly laid to rest in an Italian prison cemetery, a newspaper said on Thursday.

The coffin containing Priebke, 100, was kept for days at a military airport near Rome, while Italian authorities struggled to find a suitable burial site.

Germany refused to take the body, as did Argentina, where the former SS captain lived before his extradition to Italy in 1995.

The newspaper La Repubblica said Priebke's remains were placed in a prison cemetery at an undisclosed location, which had not been used for burials "for at least 20 years, some say 30."

A wooden cross, with no name or dates, but only a number, was placed over the grave.
Along with the report, written by its editor Ezio Mauro, the daily published some blurred pictures showing a few crosses amid overgrown grass in a walled-in space, an old stone grave, and an iron gate.

Mauro spoke of a hillside location, but gave no other pointers.

The burial reportedly took place on a Sunday in late October. Only a few people knew about it, La Repubblica said, including a three-member special government committee, the director of the prison, and Priebke's two sons.

Local residents, including the mayor, were not informed, to prevent protests or pilgrimages to Priebke's grave. One of the Nazi officer's sons, who lives in New York, is expected to visit the secret location in December, the newspaper added.

Priebke died in Rome on October 11.

He was serving a life sentence under house arrest for his role in the murder of 335 civilians during World War II, on the outskirts of the Italian capital.

The Vatican refused to grant him a funeral in Rome, and a ceremony at a college run by an ultra-conservative Catholic group - whose members have often been accused of anti-Semitism - was disrupted by rioting.

Former Nazi SS Captain Erich Priebke is escorted by Argentine police toward a plane, waiting to take him to Rome to face trial for World War Two war crimes, November 20, 1995.Credit: Reuters / Haaretz Archive

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer