The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/p/priebke.erich/press/august-95



	BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- A former Nazi SS captain is
refusing to testify before an Italian prosecutor about a massacre
in German-occupied Italy, arguing the hearing in Argentina is
illegal.
	Capt. Erich Priebke recently admitted involvement in the 1944
massacre of 335 Italian civilians in the Ardeatine Caves outside
Rome, although he maintains he was simply following Hitler's
orders.
	Italy has sought Priebke's extradition to stand trial.
Extradition was granted by a lower court, but that ruling was
appealed. The Italians are trying Priebke in absentia for crimes
against humanity and homicide.
	The former Nazi officer and his lawyer, Pedro Bianchi, met
Tuesday with Italian prosecutor Antonion Intelisano and Argentine
Federal Judge Leonidas Moldes.
	Moldes, the lower-court judge who ordered Priebke's extradition,
ended the session after Priebke refused to answer the first five of
10 questions submitted by the prosecutor.
	``We refused to answer questions and sign the record because
these proceedings are illegal,'' Bianchi said.
	``When an extradition is requested, the trial stops until the
Argentine judicial authorities reach a decision,'' he said in a
telephone interview.
	Priebke, 82, has been under house arrest since June in
Bariloche, the Andean ski resort 1,100 miles southwest of Buenos
Aires where he has lived since he came to Argentina after the war.
	He has admitted drawing up the list of people to be executed,
including at least 70 Jews, several priests and a 14-year-old boy.
He later said he killed one of them himself.
	He maintains he was simply obeying Adolf Hitler's order that 10
people be executed for each of 32 German soldiers killed in an
ambush by resistance forces in Nazi-occupied Italy.
	``We wanted to hear the facts (about the massacre) from Priebke
himself, but he refused to testify because he said the proper judge
is in Italy,'' Intelisano, the prosecutor, told reporters.

	BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- A former Nazi accused of taking
part in a World War II massacre in Italy broke more than a year's
silence Wednesday to proclaim his innocence.
	Erich Priebke, 82, was arrested in June 1994 after admitting his
involvement in the 1944 murders of 335 Italian civilians in the
Ardeatine Caves outside Rome. Italy seeks his extradition to stand
trial on charges of crimes against humanity and homicide.
	``I can assure you I am innocent. I feel like the last of the
Mohicans as I have no (defense) witness,'' Priebke, a former SS
captain, said in an interview Wednesday with the state news agency
Telam.
	He has said he was obeying Adolf Hitler's order, handed down to
his superior, Col. Herbert Kappler, that 10 people be executed for
each of 32 German soldiers killed in a partisan bombing in
Nazi-occupied Italy.
	Priebke claimed that Kappler's widow had recently called him and
said the charges against him were ``madness,'' since her husband
had accepted all responsibility.
	Priebke said his job was to ``erase'' names of victims from a
list as they were led ``one by one with their hands tied'' into the
caves for execution.
	The victims included at least 70 Jews, several priests and a
14-year-old boy, Italian authorities have said.
	Priebke, who admitted in a broadcast interview shortly before
his arrest that he shot one person himself, said Wednesday he did
not know Jews were present.
	``We wanted to oppose (the executions),'' he said. ``But we were
given the choice of obeying -- or being part of the list. It was
horrific for us.''
	Priebke, who described himself as ``small fry,'' has been under
house arrest in Bariloche, an Andean resort 1,100 miles southwest
of Buenos Aires, where he has lived since coming to Argentina after
the war.
	The former Nazi appeared before an Italian prosecutor Tuesday
night but refused to answer questions.
	``The Italian's questions were childish,'' Priebke said.
	Argentina became a safe haven for many Nazis fleeing Europe
after the war. Of more than a dozen extradition requests for
alleged war criminals

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