The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/p/priebke.erich/press/rai-denies-paying-0895



Archive/File: pub/people/p/priebke.erich/press/rai-denies-paying-0895
Last-Modified: 1995/08/31

	 ROME (Reuter) - Italian state broadcaster RAI denied
Thursday that it paid $30,000 for an interview with an ex-Nazi
whom Rome wants to extradite from Argentina and try for war
crimes.
	 ``No payment has been or will be paid for the interview
given by ex-captain Erich Priebke to TG3,'' said Daniela
Brancati, director of RAI channel three news.
	 Italian newspapers had quoted Brancati earlier as saying
that Priebke's revelations merited payment and that in any case
RAI would recoup its costs be reselling the interview to others.
	 A RAI spokesman said he believed Priebke, 81, a former SS
officer, had asked for money but management ruled out any
payment.
	 Italy wants to try Priebke over the country's worst wartime
atrocity, the 1944 Ardeatine Caves massacre of 355 men and boys
by SS officers in reprisal for the killing of 33 German soldiers
by partisans.
	 An Argentine court last week rejected Italy's request but
Germany then sought Priebke's extradition.
	 Marco Taradash, head of the parliamentary commission
overseeing RAI, asked the broadcaster Wednesday to clarify
whether it had paid for its one-hour interview with Priebke.
	 ``It would be mind-boggling for the Nazi criminal to be able
to use money from Italian public television to pay his legal
fees incurred in Italy's attempt to try him,'' he said.
	 In the interview, filmed in Priebke's home town of San
Carlos de Bariloche and broadcast late Thursday, the ex-Nazi
said he had lived in Italy until 1948 when ``an offer came
through the (Roman Catholic) Church to move to Argentina.''
	 ``A Franciscan priest helped us and we obtained passports
through the International Red Cross,'' he added.
	 Last year, Priebke said in an interview with Italian
newspaper La Repubblica that the Vatican had indirectly helped
him and his family to get to Argenina.
	 Asked in the RAI interview whether Pope Pius XII knew the
Church was helping him to flee, Priebke said: ``I have no
idea.''
	 He also said he had visited Italy twice since leaving the
country, the last time in 1979-80 when he dined in Rome with a
Nazi major also wanted in connection with the Ardeatine Caves
massacre.


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