>>>ANSA/ Priebke set for secret burial

(By Sandra Cordon)

(ANSA) - Rome, October 21 - The final resting place of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke remained a mystery Monday, even as his lawyer said that authorities have approved his burial location.

A "small ceremony for his relatives" is planned when Priebke's burial occurs, likely somewhere in Italy or his native Germany, said Paolo Giachini.

He has represented the 100-year-old former SS officer who died earlier this month while living under Rome house arrest for the reprisal killing of 335 Roman men and boys in 1944.

"Everything is solved," said Giachini.

However, officials were not confirming any such solution had been found.

Priebke's body was moved last week to a military airport in Rome for public-order reasons after a funeral at the headquarters of an ultra-traditionalist breakaway Catholic group outside Rome was aborted following clashes between residents and neo-Nazis.

The disposition of Priebke's remains has been highly controversial and a matter of much confusion.

Although he died in Rome, the city was adamant that he would not buried at the scene of his war crime.

Priebke had wanted to be repatriated to Argentina to be buried with his wife, but the government there refused to allow his remains to be returned.

And officials in his hometown of Hennigsdorf, located about 20 km northwest of Berlin, had earlier said it would not accept the body for burial.

Officials had expressed concern that if he were interred in a marked grave there, it would become a neo-Nazi shrine.

The German government has said it was Italy's responsibility to solve the problem of what should happen to Priebke's body.

Emotions were running high when last week's controversial first attempt at a public funeral clashed with preparations for ceremonies Wednesday to mark the grim 70th anniversary of a Jewish round-up on October 16, 1943.

On that date, the SS swarmed the streets of Rome, arresting more than 1,000 Jews of all ages for deportation to the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps death camps.

Only 26 returned.

Priebke, found by an ABC television journalist enjoying retirement after openly working as a teacher in Argentina in 1994, was extradited to Italy the following year.

He was sentenced to jail in 1998 for the 1944 murders but released to house arrest because of health reasons in 2003.

Rome's Jewish community protested when he got a day job as a translator in 2007 and again when he had his 100th birthday party in July.

Meanwhile, Giachini and Priebke's family have complained that Rome's Jewish community wanted to treat Priebke "like Osama Bin Laden" by denying him a proper funeral in a site where his mourners can grieve.

"They wanted him to end up like Bin Laden," whose cremated remains were scattered at sea to avoid creating a shrine to the terrorist behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Giachini recently complained.

His family also weighed in on the weekend.

"There was too much fury against our father, we are upset by what has happened," wrote Jorge and Ingo Priebke in a letter to Rome Prefect, Giuseppe Pecoraro.

Priebke was unrepentant until the end of his life.

His lawyer released parts of a so-called 'video-testament' Thursday in which Priebke reiterated he had been following orders and said the resistance fighters who killed 33 SS police in Rome the day before the massacre "knew" what the consequences would be.

Priebke called his testament "Woe to the Vanquished" and said the mass killing was "terrible" for the SS officers involved.

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