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Sunday, June 24, 2012
Erich Priebke – The Last Prisoner of War in Europe
Letter from Erich Priebke January 2010:
Rome, 3rd. February 2010
Dear Mr. Krain,
Thank you very much for your friendly Christmas wishes and for the comforting words!
On the reverse of this page is a report about my condition today and in the past. Apparently, the Italian authorities have no misgivings holding an almost 97-year-old man under arrest even though he is totally innocent.
Cordial greetings and best wishes for the New Year
In the 16th. year of my imprisonment
Via Cardinal Sanfelice N 5, I-00167 Rome, Italy
January 1st. 2010
Dear friends around the world,
Once again I experienced the joy of hundreds of letters and greeting cards - I know I am not forgotten, and the greetings and good wishes of all of these people of good will, always give me the moral strength to endure this long ordeal undaunted. For that I thank you all from the heart!
The year brought me some minor health problems which the military doctors at the hospital were able to sort out very well. The great respect which is evident from all of you gives me pleasure.
From the judiciary, I cannot announce anything positive at all. The judges responsible for my prison sentence are not inclined to be heroes, that is, to take action against my persecutors, and therefore the efforts of my friend and guardian angel, my lawyer Dr. P. Giachini, have so far been without result - that is, all things remain as they previously were:
"A 96-year-old German national, who as a German soldier in a cruel war had to obey orders from above – is detained here since 1995 although in 1948 his colleagues were acquitted of all guilt in the Kappler proceedings by an Italian military court in Rome. This acquittal was for all and after that the Roman military court has never again indicted or prosecuted a member of our command (after the war I twice visited Italy).
All of you know who my persecutors are. So it is not surprising that official Germany doesn’t stir a finger for me. An old German national abroad in distress. So far my German friends have asked three Federal Presidents of Germany to help. In a response, not in accordance with the truth German, citizens have been informed that Priebke was "legally convicted" even though I was acquitted by three Italian judges in the name of the Italian Constitution in the first trial. A malicious distortion of facts.
In May 2010, it will be 16 years that I am a prisoner. The only measure which my judges could bring themselves to take was to send a medical officer to me to the house where I am held, although all medical records were also always sent to them providing information about my health. - Personally, I hold the view - whether healthy or ill, to hold a 96-year-old man under arrest is an absolute disgrace for a civilized nation such as Italy professes to be!
For those who do not know: I am now a six-fold great grandfather - 2 girls in the U.S., a boy and a girl in Argentina and two boys in Germany - Thank God, the clan is not dying out.
And so I’ll close for today. - My cordial greetings to you all, my thanks for your support and your friendship and solidarity.
The great philosopher Balthasar Graciàn (born 1601) once said, he who has found a good friend has found a treasure – thus, I am now a rich man!
NWN Comment: Over two years old, but just as relevant now as then.