Erich Priebke

Erich Priebke , ( Hennigsdorf , Germany , 29 of July of 1913 – Rome , Italy , November from October of 2013 ) was a Hauptsturmführer the security service of the SS (RSHA). He is known to have been an assistant to Herbert Kappler , 1 who commanded the Massacre of the Ardeatine Tombs , in which 335 Italian citizens were murdered . 2 At the end of the war, he escaped to Argentina , where he lived for a short time in Buenos Aires and then settled in San Carlos de Bariloche .

Massacre of the Tanks Ardeatinas

The 23 of March of 1944 , members of the partisan resistance of the Partito d’Azione (Action Party) killed 33 German soldiers belonging to a military police company of the Waffen-SS with a bomb hidden in a garbage truck while Marched in formation by Via Rasella of Rome returning of the field to its quarter after carrying out maneuvers; In that action also died two Italian civilians.

Hitler learned of the incident and in retaliation ordered ten Italians to be executed for each dead German, although in the end the sum was rounded to 335 civilians. Herbert Kappler was selected to compile the list, which was made with prisoners under sentence of death awaiting execution, prisoners awaiting trial but whose sentence would carry the death penalty, 75 Jews detained awaiting the order to be deported to camps Of extermination and people recently charged with terrorism but released for lack of evidence. The prisoners were in several Roman prisons that depended on the German military command, the SS, the Italian government and a fascist paramilitary formation .

On March 24 , Lieutenant Priebke and Karl Hass , also of the SS security service , with trucks provided by the German army , took the selected ones to the Ardeatina Fossils, abandoned mines on the outskirts of Rome, and introduced them to They in groups of five, executing them with shots in the nape. German army thieves then sealed the entrances to the mines.

Escape to South America

After the defeat of Germany, Priebke escaped in 1946 with the aid of the group ODESSA , [ citation needed ] a prison camp in Rimini and after receiving false documents in Rome, fled to Argentina . He spent a very brief time in Buenos Aires and then traveled to his place of residence for half a century, San Carlos de Bariloche , in the foothills of the Patagonian Andes of Argentina. Priebke was supported in particular by some priests of South Tyrol as Johann Corradini of Vipiteno and Franz Pobitzer of Bolzano , as well as the separatist vicar pro – Nazi Alois Pompanin , who gave the Catholic baptism , three and was helped in his escape Of the network of contacts managed by the Croatian priest Krunoslav Draganović , 4 affiliated to the Nazi party . 5

Clandestinity in Bariloche

When Priebke settled in Bariloche, he began directing the Instituto Cultural Germano Argentino Bariloche , and his primary and secondary schools, the Primo Capraro Institute .

These institutions are of great importance in that city, where Priebke began to gain the affection of the community. His name, Erich, was changed to Erico, as it was known for years, in which Priebke acquired more importance. He was considered an exemplary neighbor and, because of his activities in Capraro, he became a pillar of Barilochian society .

In 1991, his participation in the massacre of Rome was denounced in the book The Painter of the Argentine Switzerland , of Esteban Buch, along with the history of other Nazi people settled in Bariloche from years 50. 6

Sam Donaldson , a research journalist , had been in the footsteps of Kopps, and when interviewing him and mentioning that he was a war criminal, Kopps revealed that the real war criminal was not him, but Priebke, betraying his compatriot, whose fate Until that moment was unknown. Donalson’s interest was transferred to a larger dam, the executive author of the massacre of the Ardeatina Fossils in Rome, Italy.

In 1994 , fifty years after the massacre , Priebke was placed after hard work based on Buch’s book, 7 and forced into an interview on the street by American journalist Sam Donaldson of the ABC news network .

Priebke felt it was no longer a risk to refer to the incident and admitted his responsibility in the killings in Italy, without any remorse 2 8 for the events, alleged that received higher orders and his duty was to execute them . When Priebke was questioned as a war criminal, he abruptly ended the impromptu interview.

The impact it caused in Bariloche was enormous, such that when its past was uncovered in 1994 , much of society resisted believing it. Even a local newspaper carried out a campaign in favor of Priebke, in which the actions of well done by him were emphasized, and putting in doubt that an affable grandfather and exemplary citizen had committed the crimes of which he was accused to him. The situation was very delicate, since a large part of society in principle refused to accept that one of its most significant neighbors had committed the war crimes denounced, although in a gradual way it became imposing the conviction of what really happened.

The spread of this information aroused the ire of many Italian survivors who had not forgotten the criminal incident. Upon issuance of the report, Italy requested the extradition granted by the Argentine government in November 1995. Upon his arrival in the peninsula, was imprisoned in the military prison of Forte Boccea in Rome . The military prosecutor filed the Priebke indictment for war crimes .


Priebke was accused of “complicity in continued violence with murder to the detriment of Italian citizens” for the events that occurred in the Ardeatinas Frosts on March 24, 1944. On August 1, 1996, the military court stated “not proceed, since the crime Extinguished by prescription, “and ordered the immediate release of the accused. 9 10

But the Supreme Court overturned the verdict and ordered a new trial against him . 10 Finally, after numerous appeals in March 1998 , Priebke was sentenced to life imprisonment , but due to his advanced age and Italian law he was kept under house arrest until his death in Rome , Italy . 2

Reinhard Kopps , an Abwehr SS exaggerant suspected of having participated in deportations in Albania and using the alias of Juan Reinhard Maler, died on 12 September 2001 in Bariloche.


Priebke died at his residence in the Italian capital on October 11, 2013, with just over a hundred years. November December Both Italy and Argentina refused to host a funeral of former SS captain: the commune of Rome and the Vatican rejected the possibility of holding funeral in Rome, while Argentina ‘s Foreign Ministry said it would not allow the entry of body Of Priebke to the country, since it would have manifested before dying his desires to be buried next to the rest of his wife in Bariloche. 13 14


  1. Back to top↑ Fernando D az Villanueva – Ten Italians for a German – Digital Freedom
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b c Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke dies
  3. Back to top↑ Il prete cortinese che fece fuggire Eichmann and Priebke
  4. Back to top↑ Goñi, Uki (2003). Garzanti, ed. Operazione Odessa . ISBN  88-1169-405-1 .
  5. Back to top↑ “Ustascia, fugue con l ‘oro degli ebrei”
  6. Back to top↑ Esteban Buch, The Painter of Switzerland Argentina, Buenos Aires, South American, 1991, ISBN 978-950-07-0663-6
  7. Return to top↑ See ep.4 of the series Nazi Hunters,
  8. Back to top↑ Erich Priebke exposed in Argentina by Sam Donaldson for ABC in 1994
  9. Back to top↑ Ministero della Difesa
  10. ↑ Jump to:a b E ‘dead to Rome Erich Priebke, il boia delle Ardeatine
  11. Back to top↑ (October 11, 2013). “At the age of 100, Erich Priebke died .” . Retrieved on October 14, 2013 .
  12. Back to top↑ (October 11, 2013). “Erich Priebke, one of the last Nazi criminals, dies .” . Retrieved on October 14, 2013 .
  13. Back to top↑ Télam (October 12, 2013). «The Nazi criminal Erich Priebke will be buried in Rome» . Té . Retrieved on October 14, 2013 .
  14. Back to top↑ Elisabetta Piqué (October 14, 2013). “Controversy over Priebke’s funeral .” The Nation (Argentina) . Retrieved on October 14, 2013 .