Angry protests mark funeral of Nazi war criminal in Italy

Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:13pm EDT
 
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By Naomi O'Leary

ROME (Reuters) - Italians shouted abuse and kicked the hearse of a Nazi war criminal at his funeral ceremony on Tuesday, held near Rome despite attempts by the local mayor to prevent it.

Former German SS officer Erich Priebke had been serving a life sentence under house arrest in Rome for his role in the killing of 335 civilians in 1944 in caves near the capital, one of Italy's worst wartime massacres. Priebke, who died last week aged 100, never apologized.

Scores of protesters shouting "Executioner! Executioner!" rushed at the funeral car as it passed through the gates of the Italian headquarters of the fringe right-wing Catholic Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) in Albano Laziale, television pictures showed.

Lines of riot police struggled to hold back the crowd outside the private ceremony, which took place 20 km (12 miles) from the site of the massacre after the police chief overruled a banning order issued by the local mayor Nicola Marini, Italian media reported.

Priebke's body was expected to be returned to Rome to be cremated.

"He should be cremated and chucked out to sea. There should never be a place where this person can rest in peace," Bruna Bernardini, a resident of Rome's centuries-old Jewish ghetto, told Reuters.

"RIGHT TO FUNERAL"

The head of the traditionalist SSPX in Italy defended his organization's actions, saying every Christian had a right to a funeral. Rome's centre-left mayor Ignazio Marino had said Priebke's burial in the capital would be an insult.   Continued...

 
Anti-fascist demonstrators shout as the hearse carrying the coffin of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke arrives in Albano Laziale near Rome on October 15, 2013. REUTERS/Yara Nardi