Produced in Germany in 1913, Erich Priebke served as an SS captain during the Second World War. He was among the guys in charge of the 1944 massacre of 335 Italian civilians in the Ardeatine caves in Rome, Italy. Following the war, Priebke fled to Argentina, where he resided for nearly 50 years. He was the topic of a 1994 ABC News report by Sam Donaldson. Following the interview aired on television, Priebke was detained and later extradited to Italy. He went through several trials in Italy before ultimately getting a life sentence in 1998.
Produced on July 29, 1913, in Hennigsdorf, Germany, Erich Priebke is among the past Nazi war criminals to be tried for his crimes during the Second World War. About 70 Jews were among those that have been killed in the caverns. Priebke was involved in choosing the civilians and shooting two of these personally. His first-class, SS Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Kappler, got a life sentence because of his part in the massacre.
For nearly 50 years, Priebke lived in the resort town of San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina. He was hiding in plain sight, using his own name as well as traveling abroad employing a German passport. Priebke told Donaldson that those killed were “largely terrorists” and denied that young teenaged boys was killed in the massacre. When requested to describe his involvement in the massacre, Priebke stated he had only been following orders.
Not long subsequent to the interview aired, Priebke was put under house arrest. He was later extradited to Italy to stand trial for his offenses. Back in another court the next year, Priebke received a 15-year prison sentence for his activities, but that term was later reduced to five years. Causing additional controversy, the court took into account the time that Priebke had spent under house arrest, leaving the former Nazi having a just six-month term.
In 1998, Priebke was eventually granted what many considered to be a more suitable kind of punishment—a life sentence—with the court enabling him to serve the time under house arrest in Rome. Since this opinion, Priebke continues to be involved in a number of legal conflicts. In 2013, he lost a case against Jewish community leader Riccardo Pacifici; Priebke had sued Pacifici, asserting that Pacifici had attempted to kidnap him in a 1996 court, in accordance with The Guardian newspaper.