ROME — Italians rioted and shouted “murderer” as the hearse carrying the body of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke made its way to a Rome church for his funeral on Tuesday.
The funeral was held after the local police chief overruled an order by Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino banning a funeral in the city for Priebke, who died there last week at age 100.
The funeral was held by the Society of St. Pius X, a Catholic order whose representatives have charged contemporary Jews with deicide and whose bishop, Richard Williamson, has made statements denying the Holocaust. Priebke’s body was to be cremated.
Earlier Tuesday, Jorge Priebke, reacting to the rejections by Rome’s mayor to provide a venue for the funeral — as well as by Argentina and his father’s hometown in Germany — told the Italian news agency Ansa that his father was “a victim.”
“The case against my father is a forgery made by the Jews,” he said in a call to the news agency from Buenos Aires. “Where should he be buried? To me Israel also would be good, so that they’re happy.”
Asked who “these people” were, he answered, “the same as we have been talking about,” meaning Jews.
Erich Priebke had served 15 years of a life sentence in Rome under house arrest for his involvement in one of Italy’s worst World War II Nazi atrocities — the March 1944 massacre of 335 men and boys, including about 75 Jews, in the Ardeatine Caves south of Rome.