Argentina has said it will not accept the body of convicted Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke, who died Friday in Rome, according to the BBC
Priebke, 100, was a former SS captain. He was found guilty of ordering a massacre at Rome's Ardeatine Caves in March 1944 in which 335 people died.
He fled Europe after World War II and made his way to Argentina, where he lived in the Andean resort of Bariloche for close to 40 years.
Priebke’s identity was revealed in 1994, and he was subsequently extradited to Italy for trial. Convicted on war-crimes charges, he was sentenced to life behind bars in 1998. But due to his advanced age and poor health, Priebke was allowed to serve his sentence under house arrest in Rome.
An Italian official reportedly said that Priebke's body was to be buried next to that of his wife in Argentina.
But Argentinean officials emphatically rejected that idea.
"Argentines will not accept this kind of affront to human dignity," the country’s foreign ministry said.
The government’s decision was welcomed by local Jewish groups including the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations (Daia).
The fact that Priebke had "resided with impunity for decades in our country, enjoying a life that so many civilians had been deprived of" was "an affront to the principles of the Republic," the Daia said.
The group added that people must not “forget and not forgive the Nazi genocide, or any type of genocide."
The Los Angeles Times reported
that in his final interview, Priebke denied that gas chambers were used in concentration camps. He asserted that people had been “brainwashed” into thinking that they were.
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