Erich Priebke (July 29th, 1913 - October 11th, 2013) was the SS Hauptsturmführer (Captain) in the Gestapo and Sicherheitspolizei commander in Rome, Italy. He was second in command to Rome's Gestapo chief SS Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel) Herbert Kappler.
Villainy and Fosse Ardeatine massacreBeing Kappler's right hand man, Priebke was known for torturing political prisoners by beating them with brass knuckles. He even signed warrants to deport 7,000 Italian Jews to the death camps.
On March 24th, 1944, Priebke and a large group of SS soldiers lead 335 men (between the age of 14 - 75) to be shot at the caves at Fosse Ardeatine. This was done in retaliation for a massacre of 33 German soldiers at the hands of Communist resistance fighters. This violent act is now remembered as the Fosse Ardeatine Massacre.
Following the collapse of the Nazis rule in Italy, Kappler and Priebke were arrested by the Allied forces in 1944. However Priebke escaped from prison in 1946 and with the help of corrupt officials in the Vatican he escaped Europe with his family and other SS members and Holocaust perpetrators to Argentina.
In 1994, ABC news reporter Sam Donaldson located Priebke and interviewed him. Priebke admitted to the massacre, but insisted that the people executed where terrorist, he denied the execution of teenagers in the cave, denied ever deporting Jews to the death camps, and denied personally shooting anyone in the caves. During the interview, Priebke insisted that he was only following orders and didn't much sorrow for his actions.
Following the interview, Argentina deported Priebke to Italy to face trial for his role in the massacre.
In 1996, the Italian court sentenced Priebke to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Release from prison
Priebke appealed his case and was released from prison (due to his advance age) and placed in house arrest, this spark anger in the Jewish community and surviving relatives of the people massacred by Priebke. Priebke later befriend many Neo-Nazis in Italy and posted YouTube videos under his channel ErichPriebke100.
Death and funeral
Erick Priebke died in Rome on October 11th, 2013 (three months after his 100th birthday). His funeral spark violence between fascist and anti-fascist protesters. He was given a secretive burial in a unmarked grave in the Cimitero della Colonia Penale di Isili.