Argentina on Friday refused accept the remains of Erich Priebke, a former Nazi SS captain sentenced to life in prison for his role in one of the worst atrocities by German occupiers in Italy during World War II.
Priebke, who died in Italy earlier Friday, was to have been buried beside his wife in Argentina, where he fled in the aftermath of the war, according to an AFP report.
“Foreign Minister Hector Timerman has given the order not to accept the slightest move to allow the return of the body of Nazi criminal Erich Priebke to our country,” the Argentine Foreign Ministry tweeted late Friday. “Argentines will not accept this kind of affront to human dignity.”
Earlier Friday, the LaPresse news agency quoted Priebke’s lawyer Paolo Giachini as saying Priebke died Friday at age 100. Because of his age, Priebke had served his term under house arrest at Giachini’s home.
In 1994, Priebke was extradited to Italy from Argentina and put on trial for his role in the 1944 massacre outside Rome. Nazi forces killed 335 civilians to avenge an attack by resistance fighters that killed 33 members of a Nazi military police unit a day earlier.
Priebke admitted shooting two people and rounding up victims, but insisted he was only following orders.
In July, Priebke celebrated his 100th birthday as protesters scuffled outside his residence with a young man described as his relative.
Scores of protesters gathered outside his building for a sit-in organized by Project Dreyfus, a Facebook group that fights anti-Semitism. Police intervened when some of the protesters started to brawl with the supposed relative, who appeared with a bottle of champagne to toast the former SS captain.
The protesters affixed a banner outside Priebke’s building listing the names of the 335 people killed in the caves.
JTA contributed to this report.