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The Boston Globe

Nation

Family has lost track of casket holding Nazi

ROME — The case of Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke took on another bizarre twist Thursday as his family said it does not know where his body is.

Family lawyer Paolo Giachini said he and the former SS captain’s family lost track of Priebke’s casket Tuesday night, when they tried to celebrate a funeral Mass for him in a church compound in Albano Laziale, south of Rome.

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At a certain point, a group of about 30 people entered the compound and took the casket out following protests pitting Priebke’s right-wing supporters against his detractors.

Italian state radio said the casket was taken to a nearby military base. But Giachini said he had not been able to establish who has the body or where it is.

‘‘It’s unheard of that a casket can be made to disappear in this country, taken from those who had custody of it in a private place — a place of worship — and taking it by force without any order, any notification,’’ Giachini said. ‘‘We want clarity.’’

Priebke died Friday at age 100 in Rome, where he was serving a life term for the 1944 massacre of 335 civilians at the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome.

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