Jewish groups furious as Nazi free to work

13th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

13 June 2007, Rome (dpa) - Jewish groups reacted angrily Wednesday to reports that Erich Priebke, a 93-year-old former SS officer found guilty of slaughtering hundreds of civilians in a World War II Nazi reprisal in Rome, would be allowed to go to work. "This is absolutely ridiculous. Priebke is an unrepented Nazi who doesn't deserve any privileges or sympathy," said Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jerusalem branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish NGO named after the famous Holocaust survivor and Na

13 June 2007

Rome (dpa) - Jewish groups reacted angrily Wednesday to reports that Erich Priebke, a 93-year-old former SS officer found guilty of slaughtering hundreds of civilians in a World War II Nazi reprisal in Rome, would be allowed to go to work.

"This is absolutely ridiculous. Priebke is an unrepented Nazi who doesn't deserve any privileges or sympathy," said Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jerusalem branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish NGO named after the famous Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter.

The head of Rome's Jewish Community, Renzo Gattegna, noted that Priebke had already been granted house arrests because of his advanced age and that the decision sent out the wrong signals.

"This is clearly another act of leniency towards a man who showed no mercy in killing 335 innocent civilians and has shown no remorse since," Gattegna told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Lisa Billig, the Rome representative of the American Jewish Committee, said that while Priebke should have served his sentence in full, the decision would not make much of a difference or help "bring the victims back to life."

Priebke, who turns 94 next month, was handed a life sentence by a military tribunal in Rome in 1998 for his role in the 1944 Fosse Ardeatine massacre, which saw 335 men - 75 of them thought to be Jewish - shot in the back of the head in a cave in the outskirts of the Italian capital.

The massacre was believed to have been ordered by Adolf Hitler in response to the death a day earlier of 33 German soldiers, killed by a bomb set off by Italian Resistance fighters.

According to reports Wednesday, judicial officials had granted Priebke permission to leave his home and work in his lawyer's office in the central Monti neighbourhood.

Priebke's lawyer, Giosue Bruno Naso, said Priebke has been "writing a lot" and suggested he might be needing to consult documents in Rome.

Judges also said Priebke would be allowed to leave his lawyer's office for brief periods "only to satisfy essential requirements."

Priebke was extradited to Italy after confessing to his role in the massacre during a 1994 interview with the American Broadcasting corporation while in Argentina, where he had taken refuge after World War II. In that interview he justified his actions by saying he was only following orders from the Gestapo chief of Rome.

In a 2003 interview to Italian state television RAI, Priebke described the Fosse Ardeatine massacre as "a personal tragedy" but did not ask for forgiveness to the victims.

DPA

Subject: German news

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