Erich Priebke will be buried in a secret location in Italy or Germany, the deceased Nazi war criminal’s lawyer said Saturday. Last week, Priebke’s body was seized by Italian authorities after an angry mob disrupted his funeral.
“The agreement satisfies the family and ethical and spiritual requirements,” the lawyer, Paolo Giachini, said of the new plan, noting that after the funeral there would be “a small ceremony for relatives.”
Giachini and the former SS captain’s family lost track of Priebke’s casket Tuesday night, when they tried to celebrate a funeral Mass for him in a church compound in Albano Laziale, south of Rome.
At a certain point, he told Sky TG24, a group of about 30 people entered the compound and took the casket out, following protests pitting Priebke’s right-wing supporters against his detractors.
Priebke died Friday at the age of 100 in Rome, where he was serving a life term for the 1944 massacre of 335 civilians at the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome. It was one of the worst atrocities in German-occupied Italy during World War II.
His death sparked waves of outrage in Italy’s Jewish community because, in a final statement issued by his lawyer upon his death, Priebke denied that Jews were gassed in Nazi death camps.
In a separate video statement released by Giachini on Thursday, Priebke also defended his actions at the Ardeatine Caves, saying the orders to shoot the civilians came from Adolf Hitler himself and that members of his SS unit were told they would be shot if they didn’t obey.
Giachini said he had been in touch with the German Embassy for possible burial in Priebke’s native land, once the body is located.