Saturday, October 19, 2013

Nazi Erich Priebke's funeral held by Catholic splinter group

ABC News
ROME Oct. 15, 2013

Protesters jeered "murderer" today as the body of a notorious Nazi was taken to a church for a funeral outside Rome that had been banned by the Catholic Church.

The body of former SS officer Erich Priebke was to be cremated, but it is unclear where his ashes will go. So far, no country has said it was willing to accept his remains.

Priebke died Friday at the age of 100 while serving the last 17 years of a lifetime prison sentence under house arrest in Rome.

Priebke was reviled in Italy for carrying out the massacre of 335 Italian civilians, including 57 Jews, in 1944 at the Ardeatine Caves in Rome. The slaughter was in retaliation for the killing of 33 German soldiers by resistance forces in the center of Rome during World War II.

The funeral came on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Italy on Wednesday. This year, the date will mark the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Roman Jews in 1943, many of whom died in Nazi concentration camps.

The Rome Vicariate, which overseas churches in the city and province, promptly announced in a statement soon after Priebke's death that no public funeral would be granted to him in the city or outskirts of Rome. Officials cited canon law which states that a funeral may be denied to "manifest sinners who cannot be granted ecclesiastical funerals without public scandal of the faithful."

But a splinter group of Catholic priests called the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) who object to the Vatican's outreach to Jews and other reforms agreed to hold Priebke's funeral at the chapel of their institute at Albano Laziale.

As the hearse bringing the coffin arrived outside the society's church, people in the crowd slammed their fists and umbrellas on the car and shouted "We are all anti-fascist!" and "Priebke, murderer!" the Associated Press reported.

Priebke was living openly after the war in Argentina until ABC NEW's Sam Donaldson tracked him down on the street of the town of Bariloche in 1994 and asked him about the massacre at the Ardeatine Caves.

Priebke's casual admittance to taking part in the slaughter and dismissal of his responsibilities caused shock and an indignant response around the world. He was extradited to Italy soon afterwards.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1998 by an Italian military court, but allowed to serve the last 17 years under house arrest.

Priebke continues to incite anger and protests even in death. Anti and pro-Priebke graffiti has appeared in Rome.

The tenor rose when his lawyer released a video and a seven page written message Priebke had left as "testament" in which he denied the Holocaust and the Nazi gas chambers and again showed no remorse for his actions.

While the funeral has been settled, the internment of his ashes is not..

Argentina, his home for 50 years after the war, has said they do not want him. His birthplace outside of Berlin, Hennigsdord, say there is no room for him in the cemetery. Rome's Mayor Ignazio Marino said it would be an offense to Romans if he were buried in a Roman cemetery.

Some have suggested he could be buried at the German military cemetery in Pomezia, south of Rome, but the town's mayor quickly ruled this out.

"The Pomezia German cemetery is only for Germans who died in the war. Criminals from the Nazi regime are an indelible mark of our history, and those who committed such crimes must be tried and then cancelled from our collective memory. Pomezia will never accept any of them," the mayor said.

Priebke's son, Jorge, who still lives in Argentina, is quoted in the Italian media saying what happened to his father "an injustice" and said that "the trial against my father was all invented by the Jews." He will not attend the funeral wherever they take place. "Apart from the fact that I have health problems, we do not have the money for a ticket. I receive a minimum pension in Argentina, " he said

1 comment:

  1. For some historical background (from Wikipedia):

    Erich Priebke (29 July 1913 – 11 October 2013) was a German Hauptsturmführer (Captain) in the SS police force (Sipo).[1] In 1996 he was convicted of war crimes in Italy, for participating in the massacre at the Ardeatine caves in Rome on 24 March 1944. 335 Italian civilians (among them 75 Italians of Jewish ancestry[2]) were killed in retaliation for a partisan attack that killed 33 German soldiers. Priebke was one of those held responsible for this mass execution. After the defeat of Nazi Germany, he received help from a bishop stationed in Rome and fled to Argentina on a Vatican passport, where he lived for over 50 years.

    Alois Hudal (also known as Luigi Hudal; born 31 May 1885 in Graz, Austro-Hungarian Empire; died 13 May 1963 in Rome, Italy) was a Rome-based bishop of Austrian descent. For thirty years, he was the head of the small Austrian-German congregation of Santa Maria dell'Anima in Rome and, until 1937, an influential representative of the Austrian Church. In his 1937 book, The Foundations of National Socialism, Hudal praised Adolf Hitler and his policies and indirectly attacked Vatican policies. After World War II, Hudal became infamous for the "ratline" he helped to establish, allowing prominent Nazi German and other European former Axis officers and political leaders, among them war criminals, to escape Allied trials and denazification.

    In 1937, in Vienna, Hudal published a book entitled The Foundations of National Socialism, with an imprimatur from Archbishop Innitzer, which was an enthusiastic endorsement of Hitler. Hudal sent Hitler a copy with a handwritten dedication praising him as "the new Siegfried of Germany's greatness".