12 Oct 2013

Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke dies

10:35 am on 12 October 2013

Convicted Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke has died in Italy at the age of 100.

The former SS officer had been living under house arrest in Rome after his conviction in 1998 of involvement in a massacre of 335 Italian civilians during WWII.

He was jailed for life over the massacre at Rome's Ardeatine Caves but was allowed to serve the sentence under house arrest because of his age and poor health.

The move caused anger over what some people in the city regarded as conditions that were far too comfortable and lenient, the BBC reports.

Priebke was one of the SS officers present during the killing of men and boys at the caves in 1944, in a reprisal attack ordered by Adolf Hitler for the killing of 33 German soldiers in Rome by resistance fighters.

He was among the officers who oversaw the operation to round up victims and transport them to a network of caves on the outskirts of the city where they were all shot.

Though Priebke admitted his role in the massacre, he never expressed any remorse and maintained he was following orders.

He was extradited to Italy in 1994 after he was discovered working as a school teacher in Argentina.