Scrapbookpages Blog

October 20, 2013

The church funeral plans for Priebke sparked an outcry in the United States.

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:34 am

The title of my blog post today is a quote from a news article about the protests against the funeral of Erich Priebke, who was a convicted Nazi war criminal.

Here is the full quote from the news article on the CNN blog which you can read in full here:

The church funeral plans for Priebke sparked an outcry in the United States.

“Erich Priebke was a monster,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

“He does not deserve the dignity and respect of a proper church burial. His body should be cremated and his ashes scattered at sea, without further ceremony.”

Priebke, a former SS captain sentenced to life in prison for his role in an Italian massacre in 1944, died on Friday.

Priebke was convicted by Italian court in 1998 for helping organize the execution of 335 men and boys in retaliation for attacks on German troops. The former Nazi was unrepentant, denying the Holocaust in his final statement, according to the Associated Press.

Note that the news article says that Priebke was convicted of the crime of helping to organize the execution of 335 men and boys in RETALIATION for attacks on German troops.  No, this was not a RETALIATION, but rather a REPRISAL.

There is a difference between a reprisal and a retaliation.  A reprisal was an action that was legal under the Geneva Convention of 1929.  (Reprisals are no longer legal under the Geneva Convention of 1949) The purpose of a reprisal was to stop illegal combatants from killing enemy soldiers during war time.

An example of a reprisal was what happened at Orddour-sur-Glane.  After the reprisal, the killing of German soldiers by French Resistance fighters in the area of Oradour-sur-Glane stopped, so the reprisal was successful.

After World War II, the Allies changed the laws so that illegal combatants were legal combatants and reprisals against illegal combatants were now ex-post-facto war crimes.  After the war, illegal combatants who had been captured were now considered Prisoners of War, and it was a war crime to put illegal combatants into a concentration camp.

Priebke was convicted under ex-post-facto laws, created by the Allies AFTER the war.  In other words, Priebke was not a war criminal at the time that he participated in a legal reprisal.

As for Priebke’s crime of Holocaust denial, Italy did not have a law against Holocaust denial at the time that Priebke made his Holocaust denial statements. He was never convicted of being a Holocaust denier.  Italy is now trying to catch up to the rest of the world; Italy will soon become the 18th country to have a Holocaust denial law.

I previously blogged about Primo Levi, who was a famous Italian Jew who was sent to Auschwitz.  Levi was arrested for being an Italian partisan, i.e. an illegal combatant.  However, when he was admitted to the camp, he said that he was a Jew, because he was afraid that he would be killed if he admitted to being a Resistance fighter.