Archive/File: holocaust/italy priebke.001 Last-Modified: 1994/05/17 Source: soc.culture.jewish.holocaust newsgroup, UseNet From: Werner Uhrig
Date: 15 May 1994 01:22:00 GMT Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Title: Priebke's Crimes -- the News Reports Rabbi: Nazi Lives In Argentina Ex-Nazi Says He Saw Massacre May 8: Former Nazi Says he Feels No Remorse over Massacre May 7: AP - Italy Wants Ex-Nazi Extradited May 7: Reuters - Italy Wants Argentina to Give up Former Nazi May 9: AP - Ex-Nazi Sought In Argentina May 9: Reuters - Italy Seeks Arrest of Former SS Man for War Crime May 11: Reuters - Ex-Nazi Wanted in Italy ``Helped Spring Mussolini'' May 11: AP - Ex-SS Capt. To Go To Italy May 11: Reuters - Nazi Will be Sent to Italy If All in Order - Menem Rabbi: Nazi Lives In Argentina (May x) NEW YORK (AP) -- A Nazi officer accused of rounding up Jews in Italy during World War II and helping to massacre more than 300 civilians in caves near Rome is living in Argentina, a Jewish group says. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles is asking Germany to reopen the case of SS Captain Erich Priebke, said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the center. The trail leading to Priebke started at the Vatican after the war, where a man working for a German bishop helped smuggle former Nazis to South America in an operation dubbed the ``Rat Line,'' Hier said. That man, a German named Reinhard Kops, was located last year in Argentina by the Wiesenthal Center. Now in his 70s, Kops lives several hundred miles from Buenos Aires and goes by the name Juan Mahler. When the ABC News show ``Prime Time Live'' went to Argentina last month to do a story on former Nazis living in South America, the center told them about Kops. ABC confronted him on the street near his home with evidence provided by the center, and Kops admitted his wartime activities. He also fingered Priebke, now in his 70s, who lives nearby. Priebke was second-in-command to Herbert Kappler, an SS colonel in Rome who was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the executions of 335 Italian civilians, including 70 Jews, in the Ardeatine Caves near Rome on March 24, 1944. Kappler died in 1978. Priebke escaped from a British detention camp in Northern Italy after the war and vanished, Hier said. The rabbi said his center has documents showing that Priebke rounded up Jews in Italy under orders of Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann, who oversaw the deportation of Europe's Jews to the Nazi concentration camps. Eichmann was captured in 1960 in Argentina, convicted of war crimes in Israel and hanged in 1962. Hier said one document showed Priebke's role in the cave massacre was to line the victims up and ``check them off as they were shot.'' In documents ABC News has obtained, Priebke also admitted he shot at least two of the victims, who died with their hands tied behind their backs, Hier said. The Wiesenthal center has sent a letter to a special prosecutor in Ludwigsberg, Germany, requesting that Priebke be extradited to Germany and charged with crimes against humanity, Hier said in a telephone interview from his hotel room in New York City. Ex-Nazi Says He Saw Massacre (May x) BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- A former Nazi officer living under his own name in Argentina for nearly 50 years has admitted being present at the massacre of 335 Italian civilians during World War II. Former SS Capt. Erich Priebke, 80, told Argentine media he was following orders from Adolf Hitler in connection with the execution of Italians in the Ardeatine Caves near Rome on March 24, 1944. The massacre was in reprisal for the killing of 32 German soldiers by Italian partisans in Nazi-occupied Rome. ``Later, the order came from Berlin to kill 10 Italians for each German killed,'' Priebke told Diarios y Noticias news agency on Friday. Seventy of those killed were Jews. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which tries to track down Nazi war criminals, has asked Germany to reopen Priebke's case. The case was closed when Priebke could not be located. The center used an undercover agent to infiltrate a neo-Nazi group in Germany, which led them to Priebke and other reputed former Nazis living in South America. The German Embassy in Buenos Aires said it received a fax Friday from the Foreign Ministry in Bonn asking for information about Priebke. ``If there are indications that he took part in this massacre, a prosecutor will begin investigations,'' embassy press chief Manfred Emmes told The Associated Press. ``If the prosecutor comes to the conclusion that a war crime was committed, he will ask for an arrest order.'' Germany has no extradition treaty with Argentina, so Argentina would have to agree to send Priebke to Germany. In 1990, Argentina sent Josef Schwammberger to Germany, where he was sentenced to life in prison for killing and ordering the deaths of Jews at slave labor camps in Poland. Priebke is a prominent member of the German community in Bariloche, 1,100 miles southwest of Buenos Aires, and president of a local German-Argentine cultural association. Emmes said Priebke had come to Argentina in 1947 or 1948 and has been in Bariloche since the early 1950s. The embassy had helped Priebke with cultural and social events but did not know of his Nazi past, Emmes said. ``We wouldn't want a person like that to be head of the cultural association,'' Emmes said. Priebke first publicly admitted taking part in the massacre in an interview with the ABC-TV news program ``Prime Time Live,'' which aired on Thursday. He told the program, and repeated again Friday to a state-owned radio station in Bariloche, that he did not deport or kill Jews. Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, told the news program that claim was ``ridiculous.'' Hier sent a German special prosecutor in charge of Nazi war crimes four documents found in Italian archives that Hier said ``link Erich Priebke to the deportation of Jews.'' ``I think these documents, plus Priebke's admission that he was present in the caves during the massacre, create sufficient reason for his case to be reopened,'' Hier said in the April 29 letter to Alfred Streim, a prosecutor in the city of Ludwigsburg. Hier said in New York on Friday one document showed Priebke's role in the cave massacre was to line the victims up and ``check them off as they were shot.'' Sergio Widder, the Wiesenthal center's representative in Argentina, said he did not know Priebke lived in Argentina until ABC contacted the center. ``He must have had a feeling of impunity to be able to go around without fear of being caught,'' Widder told The AP. Argentine government archives show that dozens of war criminals and hundreds of collaborators immigrated to Argentina, often with the help of high-ranking government officials. Files also show that many lived in Argentina without fear of being captured. Josef Mengele, for example, came to Argentine under a fake identity on an International Red Cross passport, but later used his own name. Priebke had been second-in-command to Herbert Kappler, an SS colonel in Rome who was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the Ardeatine Caves massacre. Kappler died in 1978. Priebke escaped from a British detention camp in Northern Italy after the war and vanished, Hier said. Former Nazi Says he Feels No Remorse over Massacre (May 8) BUENOS AIRES (Reuter) - Former German Nazi SS captain Erich Priebke, who took part in the worst massacre of Italians during World War Two, said he feels no remorse about his past and even sleeps soundly. Priebke, 81, told the daily Clarin in an interview published Sunday that the execution of 335 Italians at Rome's Ardeatine Caves in March 1944 was ``an action of war.'' ``I would have preferred not to do it, but it was a war and that's how wars are,'' said Priebke, who has lived in Argentina without concealing his identity since he escaped from a British prison camp in Italy in 1948. The former SS captain's doctor said in a telephone interview that Priebke was resting at his home in the resort city of San Carlos de Bariloche, 1,000 miles southwest of Buenos Aires. ``He is not very sick but he was feeling tired, worried and depressed after last week's upheaval. I prescribed him a few days' rest at home,'' Enrique Giron told Reuters. Calls to Priebke's home were answered by an elderly woman with a German accent who said he was not there. Priebke came under the limelight last week when the U.S. television network ABC tracked him down and got him to acknowledge he had taken part in the Adreatine Caves massacre. That story prompted Italy's Justice Ministry to say Saturday that it will seek Priebke's extradition. Argentine Foreign Affairs vice minister Fernando Petrella said Sunday that no request for Priebke's arrest had been received here, adding that local courts would rule whether he should to be handed to Italy. Argentina was a haven for people escaping from Europe after World War Two. Along with thousands of Jewish survivors of Nazi death camps, many war criminals found refuge here as authorities generally turned a blind eye to their records. Petrella, in his radio interview, said Argentina had come clean of its past by declassifying its files on Nazis in 1992. ``Argentina's example could be followed by countries that played a leading role in World War Two and have not done so,'' the official told a radio interviewer. In his interview with Clarin, Priebke justified the Adreatine Caves massacre, arguing that the prisoners were terrorists executed on Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's orders in retaliation for a bomb that killed 33 German soldiers in Rome. Hitler reportedly demanded that 10 civilians be executed for every German killed in the bombing. ``They were terrorists,'' Priebke said. ``Communist terrorists. And they had killed German soldiers. It was an action of war in retaliation for the bombing, as a British military tribunal ruled and absolved us,'' he said. He added: ``They were not Jews, as it has been said. Maybe there were a few Jews among the 335 but they were shot because they were communists -- not because of their religion. I was not an anti-Semite. I was a Nazi, but not an anti-Semite.'' Priebke, a leader of the German community in Bariloche who heads the board of governors of one of the city's most prestigious private schools, added that he had never killed a Jew nor ordered any to be sent to concentration camps. Italian accounts of the massacre hold that there were 75 Jewish Italians, teenagers, women, common prisoners and even one Roman Catholic priest among the victims. Priebke told Clarin that he had helped make the list of prisoners to be shot and stood at the caves' entrance -- ticking off names as victims descended to their death. ``Once they were inside, (SS colonel Herbert) Kappler was first one to shoot. He was our boss. We officers followed him by rank. He gave the order and we shot. I don't know how long it took, but I suppose it was a lot of time because 335 people are not executed quickly,'' he added. Asked if he felt any remorse about his past or if he ever had nightmares about the killing, he told Clarin: ``No. I sleep soundly because you get over things.'' Italy Wants Ex-Nazi Extradited (May 7) ROME (AP) -- Italy will ask Argentina to extradite a former Nazi SS officer who admitted taking part in the massacre of 335 civilians near Rome in 1944. The ministry, in a communique, said Saturday it ``immediately began action'' on an extradition request after a U.S. television network reported that former Nazi Capt. Erich Priebke was living in Argentina. Priebke, 80, escaped in 1946 from a British prison camp in Rimini, a resort town on Italy's Adriatic coast. He has lived in Argentina for nearly 50 years. He has been sought for his role in the 1944 execution, by German occupying troops, of 335 Italians, including priests, about 100 Jews, some foreigners and a 14-year-old boy. The civilians were rounded up in reprisal for the killing of 32 German soldiers by partisans waging a fight against Nazi occupiers. Although they had no role in the killing of the German soldiers, the prisoners were taken to the Ardeatine Caves near Rome, where they were shot. Priebke, now a leader of the German community in the Argentine city of Bariloche, told Argentine media he was following orders from Adolf Hitler for the reprisal killings. Although he acknowledged being present during the massacre, he denied personally killing or deporting any Jews. Italy Wants Argentina to Give up Former Nazi (May 7) ROME (Reuter) - Italy said Saturday it would seek the extradition from Argentina of former Nazi Erich Priebke, who has admitted helping with the 1944 killing of 355 people outside Rome, the worst war crime committed in the country during World War Two. Priebke, who escaped from a British prisoner-of-war camp in 1948, was tracked down in Argentina by the ABC television network, whose report was broadcast Friday night. The killings in the Fosse Adreatine caves, near the catacombs of early Christians on the outskirts of Rome, are etched into Italy's national consciousness. President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro lays a wreath at their monument several times a year. The victims, who included 75 Jews, were executed in reprisal for a partisan bomb attack which killed 33 German SS stormtroopers. Nazi authorities ordered 10 hostages to be executed for every dead soldier but mistakenly killed an extra five people. ``The justice ministry is trying to acquire every element to pursue Erik (sic) Priebke in Italy, and is starting procedures for his extradition to Italy,'' a ministry statement said. The ABC report prompted an immediate call by Rome's chief rabbi Elio Toaff for the former Nazi to be brought to trial. ``Justice demands that sooner or later those who have stained themselves with crimes against humanity pay for their faults,'' he said. ``Terrible events such as this cannot be forgotten.'' Priebke, a colonel in the SS, spent 20 months in custody after the war. Italian media said he now lived in the Andean town of San Carlo Bariloche, where he was chairman of the Argentine-German cultural association. At the caves, his main job was to tick off the names of those about to die, although he admitted after the war to shooting at least two people himself. ``When the first of those who were condemned were killed I was there, I saw them,'' he was quoted as saying in a transcript of ABC's interview published in Il Messaggero newspaper. Priebke said in the transcript he regretted the killings but had obeyed orders. ``Many youngsters do things that they end up regretting when they grow old, as I have,'' he said. ``You know what the orders were. You know that things of this kind happen during a war.'' Arrigo Paladini, an Italian soldier captured by the Germans behind their lines, recounted his memory of Priebke to Il Messaggero. ``I remember Captain Priebke's method of interrogation very well,'' he said. ``He used to hit me in the thorax with the knuckle-duster he habitally used with all prisoners.'' Ex-Nazi Sought In Argentina (May 9) ROME (AP) -- A judge for a military tribunal signed an arrest warrant Monday for a former Nazi officer who is living in Argentina and reportedly has admitted a role in the 1944 massacre of 335 civilians near Rome. Italy's justice minister had said Saturday that it had begun the paperwork to seek the extradition of Erich Priebke from Bariloche, Argentina, to face trial for war crimes. Priebke, a former captain in the Nazi SS, has lived in Argentina for nearly 50 years and leads a German community in the town. The warrant was signed by Judge Giuseppe Mazzi, the Italian news agency AGI reported. If extradited, Priebke would be judged by the military court, made up of two magistrates and a military official chosen by lot from the armed forces. Priebke escaped in 1946 from a British military prison camp in Italy. He was a top aide to Herbert Kappler, a convicted Nazi war criminal who escaped from an Italian military hospital in Italy in 1977 and died the next year in Germany. Priebke is wanted in connection with the execution of 335 civilians, including a 14-year-old boy, by German soldiers in retaliation for the killing of 32 German soldiers by Italian partisans. He was quoted as telling Argentine news media last week that he was following orders from Adolf Hitler in rounding up people for the reprisal. Although he acknowledged being present during the massacre, he denied personally killing anyone. Italy Seeks Arrest of Former SS Man for War Crime (May9) ROME (Reuter) - An Italian military judge Monday issued a warrant for the arrest of former German Nazi SS captain Erich Priebke, now living in Argentina, on suspicion of involvement in the killings of 335 Italians at the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome in 1944. The warrant, signed by examining magistrate Giuseppe Mazzi, will allow the Justice Ministry to begin extradition proceedings against Priebke, who has lived in Argentina since his escape from a British prison camp in Italy in 1948. If extradited, Priebke, 81, would be tried by a court martial consisting of two magistrates and an officer of the Italian armed forces. Argentine deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Fernando Petrella said Sunday that local courts would rule whether Priebke should to be handed to Italy. Priebke was traced last week by the U.S. television network ABC to the Andean town of San Carlos de Bariloche, 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southwest of Buenos Aires. He has acknowledged that he took part in the Ardeatine killings, including shooting at least one victim, but told ABC he regretted his involvement and had been following orders. ``Many youngsters do things that they end up regretting when they grow old, as I have,'' Priebke said. He told Italian television separately that the killings were a ``hard and just reprisal'' for an Italian partisan bomb attack which killed 33 German soldiers in Rome. The victims, who included 75 Jews and a number of teenagers, women and a Roman Catholic priest, were taken from Italian and German prisons to the caves and shot. Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal told Italian radio that his documentation centre in Vienna had been aware since 1989 that Priebke was living in Argentina. He said the centre knew Priebke was deputy to SS lieutenant colonel Herbert Kappler and that Kappler had taken him to the caves ``but not precisely what role he played in the massacre.'' Kappler served 30 years of a life sentence for the Ardeatine massacre. He was smuggled out of a military prison hospital in Italy by his wife Anneliese in 1977 and died six months later of cancer in former West Germany. The military court which tried Kappler halted proceedings against Priebke in 1948 after he vanished. ``He has never been tried in Italy and so there can be no question that he was ever absolved,'' Italian military prosecutor Antonino Intelisano told reporters. Priebke told the Argentine newspaper Clarin in an interview published Sunday that he had helped make the list of prisoners to be shot and stood at the caves' entrance -- ticking off names as victims descended to their death. ``Once they were inside, Kappler was first one to shoot. He was our boss. We officers followed him by rank. He gave the order and we shot,'' Priebke was quoted as saying. He called the victims ``communist terrorists'' who had been killed in an act of war and said a British military tribunal had absolved him of wrongdoing. Asked if he felt any remorse about his past or if he ever had nightmares about the killing, Priebke told Clarin: ``No. I sleep soundly because you get over things.'' Ex-Nazi Wanted in Italy ``Helped Spring Mussolini'' (May 11) ROME (Reuter) - Former SS captain Erich Priebke, wanted in Italy for war crimes, played a key role in a dramatic operation to spring fascist dictator Benito Mussolini from captivity in 1943, a leading Nazi-hunter said Wednesday. Rabbi Marvin Hier said he had reliable evidence that Priebke, then a senior Gestapo police officer in Rome, was awarded the Iron Cross for pinpointing the mountaintop hideout where Mussolini was being held. ``It is absolutely reliable. It comes from an impeccable source in Germany who cannot be challenged,'' Hier, head of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, said. Once freed, Mussolini set up a puppet fascist ``Republic of Salo'' in northern Italy in the final 18 months of World War Two. Hier's claim could embarrass the new Italian government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the media magnate whose cabinet includes three members of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI). The MSI was founded in 1946 to keep the ideals of fascism alive. Several of its older members of parliament fought under the Salo banner to try to re-instate Mussolini's regime nationwide. Priebke, now 81, is under house arrest in Argentina pending extradition proceedings. Italy wants to try him before a military tribunal in connection with the killing of 335 Italians at the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome in March 1944. In Argentina, President Carlos Menem said Wednesday that his government would hand Priebke over immediately if the details of Italy's extradition request were all in order. ABC television traced Priebke last week to the Andean resort of San Carlos di Bariloche, where he had lived without concealing his identity since fleeing Italy in 1948. Hier says he helped to lead the TV team to Priebke. He said his German source, who he asked not be named, had cited documentary evidence that Priebke found the hideout on the Gran Sasso mountain where Italian police were holding Mussolini after Italy broke with Nazi Germany in September 1943. Adolf Hitler sent his kidnap specialist Otto Skorzeny to lead a glider assault by paratroopers on the Gran Sasso, the highest mountain in central Italy, to spring the deposed Duce from captivity on September 12. Mussolini, who had been arrested after his Fascist Grand Council ousted him in July 1943, was flown to a meeting with Hitler before returning to Italy to lead his last-ditch fascist state in the German-occupied north. Hier said his German source told him documentary evidence ``showed that Priebke was involved in the liberation of Mussolini and was decorated with the Iron Cross, Second Class, for his part.'' Ex-SS Capt. To Go To Italy (May 11) BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- A former SS officer living in Argentina helped Italian dictator Benito Mussolini escape from a mountain jail, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Wednesday. Former SS Capt. Erich Priebke, who has lived in Argentina under his own name since the late 1940s, has admitted taking part in the massacre of hundreds of Italian civilians near Rome in 1944. On Wednesday, the Argentine government said he would be extradited to Italy to stand trial for war crimes. Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Wiesenthal Center, told The Associated Press that German government archives show that Priebke, 80, received the Iron Cross Second Class and a citation for ``discovering Mussolini's whereabouts.'' The dictator, deposed and arrested in July 1943, was rescued by SS parachutists in the Gran Sasso mountains in east-central Italy on Sept. 12, 1943. He was executed by Italian partisans on April 28, 1945. The citation was signed by SS Col. Herbert Kappler, Hier said by telephone from Los Angeles. Priebke was second-in-command to Kappler in Italy and was at the Ardeatine Caves when 335 civilians were executed in reprisal for the killing of 32 German soldiers by partisans in Nazi-occupied Rome. Hier, speaking by telephone from Los Angeles, would not say who gave the information about Priebke to the Wiesenthal Center, which tries to track down Nazi war criminals. On Wednesday President Carlos Menem of Argentina said Priebke will be extradited to Italy ``immediately, if all the documents are in order.'' Menem told a local radio station that Priebke ``is a war criminal who unfortunately wasn't detected until now.'' ``When the formal extradition request is received from the Italian justice system, and everything is in order, he will immediately be sent to Italy to be judged there,'' Menem said. Italian prosecutors signed an order Monday seeking Priebke's extradition. Priebke has lived more than 40 years in Bariloche, a town of 80,000 in the Andean foothills, where he is now under house arrest. He is the president of a local German-Argentine cultural association, which oversees a 700-student private school. Priebke told ABC-TV's ``PrimeTime Live'' news magazine that he did not shoot anyone at the caves, but later told Argentine media that he shot one person. Two separate cases against Priebke, one in Germany and one in Italy, were dropped in the 1960s when Priebke couldn't be located, Hier said. Nazi Will be Sent to Italy If All in Order - Menem (May 11) BUENOS AIRES (Reuter) - Argentina will hand over former Nazi Erich Priebke immediately if the details of an Italian extradition request are all in order, President Carlos Menem said Wednesday. Menem, in a radio interview, said he was sorry that the former SS captain, who admitted taking part in Italy's worst World War Two massacre, was only unmasked 46 years after he arrived in Argentina. ``If everything is in order, he will be sent immediately to Italy to face trial over there, because the crime was committed in that country,'' the Peronist leader said. Priebke, 81, has been under house arrest since an Italian military court requested his detention Monday night. Under a bilateral agreement, Italy has 45 days to present a formal extradition request. The former SS officer told reporters this week that he had helped draw up a list of 335 Italians executed March 24, 1944, in Rome's Ardeatine Caves in retaliation for a bomb that killed 33 German soldiers. Priebke, who broke out of a British-run prison in Rimini in 1947, has also said that he shot one prisoner in the caves on his commander's order. The commander, SS Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Kappler, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the Ardeatine Caves killings in 1948. He escaped from a Roman jail in 1978 and died shortly after. Priebke was uncovered last week by an ABC television team in the Andean lake resort of San Carlos de Bariloche, 1,000 miles south of Buenos Aires. Pedro Bianchi, the lawyer defending Priebke, argued that the former SS officer has a good chance of beating extradition because of statute of limitation restrictions and because two rulings on the massacre have been made without convictions of his client. The Italian arrest warrant, however, said no statute of limitations should be applied in this case. ``This is an action punished with life imprisonment besides the aggravating circumstance that Priebke acted with cruelty toward the (victims),'' the warrant read. Jewish and Italian organizations have charged that Priebke worked in the SS office in Rome responsible for sending Italian Jews and political dissidents to death camps. The former Nazi, however, has denied any involvement. May 9: AP - Ex-Nazi Never Denied His Past Ex-Nazi Never Denied His Past (May 9) BARILOCHE, Argentina (AP) -- When Erich Priebke admitted playing a role in a Nazi massacre of 335 Italian civilians, no one was less surprised than his longtime neighbors. ``Everybody here knew that he was a Nazi, an SS Captain and that he participated in the massacre,'' said Tomas Buch, a German-born Bariloche resident. ``He never hid anything.'' But Priebke's frank public admission last week that he was present at the 1944 executions outside Rome has caused an uproar thousands of miles from this town on the edge of the Andes. Italian prosecutors in Rome on Monday signed an extradition order for Priebke, asking Argentina to abide by its extradition treaty with Italy. And the Simon Wiesenthal Center has asked Germany to reopen the case, which had been dropped when Priebke couldn't be found. Today, the 80-year-old man accused of crimes against humanity lives on the top floor of a health clinic specializing in maternity care. He owns the building and rents the space to the clinic. As president of the local German-Argentine cultural association, Priebke is one of the most visible members of Bariloche's German community. He has lived here for more than four decades, always using his real name. ``It wasn't any surprise to me,'' neighbor Juan Hoeller said of Priebke's public admission of his Nazi past. ``Everybody here has known for years.'' A 1991 book titled, ``The Painter of Swiss Argentina,'' by Buch's son, Esteban, stated that Priebke participated in the March 24, 1944, massacre in the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome. But the German Embassy in Buenos Aires says it didn't know of Priebke's Nazi past until he appeared last week on the ABC-TV program ``Prime Time Live'' saying he was in the caves when the killings took place. The Associated Press went to Priebke's home Saturday to seek an interview. He opened the door but refused to speak with a reporter and photographer. Dr. Enrique Giron told the official news agency Telam on Saturday that Priebke was suffering from depression because of recent events. During the 1950s and 1960s, Priebke ran the downtown Vienna Deli. ``We would go there reluctantly,'' Buch said. ``We used to say, `We're going to the Nazi's deli.' But he had the best cold cuts around.'' Bariloche, nestled in the Andean foothills bordering a lake 1,100 miles southwest of Buenos Aires, has a distinct Bavarian feel. In the main plaza, framed by Alpine-style municipal government buildings, photographers take pictures of tourists posing with a St. Bernard. A few blocks away is the Hotel Edelweiss, not far from the Munich Restaurant. Newsstands prominently display a German-language weekly. Several thousand first-, second- and third-generation Germans live in Bariloche, a town of 80,000 settled in 1895 by a German-Chilean. Priebke is viewed here as a model resident, reserved and refined. Residents say he speaks Spanish, English, French and Italian well. At the cultural association's social events, Priebke and his wife Alicia ``dance and keep dancing,'' said Hoeller, an Argentine-born hotel owner whose parents emigrated from Germany in 1914. By all accounts, Priebke spoke openly of his SS past, but never expressed sympathy for Nazi ideology or current nationalist movements. Priebke told ABC that he was present in the caves when the civilians were killed, but that he himself killed no one. He later told a Buenos Aires radio station that he shot one civilian. He also said he never deported or killed any Jews. However, Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Wiesenthal Center, says he has documents proving that Priebke rounded up Jews in Italy under orders of Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann, who was captured in Argentina in 1960, convicted of war crimes in Israel and hanged two years later. Hier says the center has also obtained British documents showing that Priebke admitted in a POW camp, before he escaped in 1946, that he shot at least two people in the caves. The massacre was in reprisal for the killing of 32 German soldiers in Nazi-occupied Rome. Priebke said that as an SS Captain, he had to obey Adolf Hitler's orders that 10 Italians be killed for every German slain. The 335 victims included at least 70 Jews, some priests and at least one 14-year-old boy. A block from Priebke's apartment lives Juan Maler, whom the Wiesenthal Center says is a former Nazi intelligence agent who helped smuggle Nazis into South America and today helps neo-Nazi groups throughout South America. Maler denies all the allegations. ``The subject of war criminals here should be looked into further,'' said Pastor Mendez, a Bariloche journalist. ``It seems to me there could be more -- not necessarily Germans, but we also have large communities of Italians and Croatians that came after the war.'' But people here are eager to point out that the bulk of the European immigrants arrived long before Adolf Hitler took power. ``That Bariloche was a refuge for Nazis is a known fact here,'' said Buch. ``But remember that the German community here goes back much longer.''
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