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Nazi war criminal Priebke, dubbed the 'butcher,' dies at 100

Former SS officer Erich Priebke leaves his lawyer's office in Rome in June 2007.

Story highlights

  • Argentina says it will not allow Priebke to be buried within its borders
  • Erich Priebke was under house arrest at the time of his death
  • He was sentenced to life in prison for war crimes
  • He was convicted for his role in the massacre of 335 people in 1944

Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke, who was serving a life sentence for his role in the massacre of hundreds at Italy's Ardeatine Caves in 1944, has died, his lawyer said Friday.

Priebke, 100, spent the last years of his life under house arrest in Rome.

He left behind a video interview, lawyer Paolo Giachini said, though its contents were not immediately available.

Priebke was sentenced to life in prison by an Italian court in 1998 for helping organize the March 24, 1944, execution of 335 men and boys in retaliation for partisan attacks on German troops.

Among those said to have been killed were members of the Italian resistance movement, resistance sympathizers and Jews.

After the war, he managed to flee to Argentina, where he lived as a free man for half a century before being extradited to face trial in Italy.

Dubbed the "butcher of the Ardeatine Caves" after his extradition, Priebke long maintained he was only following orders that came directly from Berlin.

Because of his age at the time of his conviction, Priebke was allowed to serve his time under house arrest, and was even able to leave home each day to work at the office of a lawyer.

Giachini, the attorney, said there were plans for Priebke to be buried near his late wife at an undisclosed location in Argentina.

But Argentina's Foreign Ministry said Friday it will will not accept the remains.

"Foreign Minister Hector Timerman has given orders to not accept any process that will permit the body of Nazi criminal Erich Priebke access to our country," the ministry said in a post on its Twitter account.

"The Argentines will not accept this type of affront to human dignity."