Nazi Capt. Erich Priebke: 'An Order Was an Order'

ABC News' Sam Donaldson interviewed the Nazi war criminal in 1994.
13:22 | 10/15/13

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Transcript for Nazi Capt. Erich Priebke: 'An Order Was an Order'
A thousand miles south of when -- in the shadow of the Andes mountains lies a little piece of Germany. -- -- Argentina feels like it belongs in Bavaria and that's no accident. Because many Germans moved here after World War II. One of them was Eric replica. Once a captain in the dreaded Nazi SS. Now and eighty year old grandfather. You'll -- in the Gestapo in 1944 -- about. The -- How do you feel about the Nazi but it now. The whole I'm -- that is -- -- I finished as the Nazis at -- -- Today Eric Tibco lives quietly he is prominent in the German community in biology chairman of the cultural association. He is soft spoken and kindly looking. But what was he like back then. What kind of a man was -- -- -- -- got a little more insight on that all you have to do is visit the museum for the liberation of Rome here on the be -- so. You see this building used to be the Gestapo interrogation center and it was here that Eric fifty did some of his cruelest work. -- -- Sabatini is the curator of this museum. In 1944. Her husband was picked up and locked in this tiny cell for a month. He thought it was going to die and scratched his will -- the plaster wall. He almost did die -- your husband was tortured here. Seeing what they're going to think yes many times it by cap guarantee and by -- -- definitely isn't. You -- -- -- yes he hit him often with brass knuckles that. Mean he was very controlled the very cold -- Peter Tompkins the American -- posing as an Italian actually met Africa. At a party. He was charming. Quote. Personable. Good looking. Detective -- uniformed. Capable of murder. He he's involved. In in them -- three days later. He he he he was in the idea came caves butchering. 335. People. These -- the RD -- -- caves of Rome today a memorial. Complete with rows and rows of coffins. On March 24 1944. A place of mass murder. Vieira and -- testimony school sisters now in their seventies come here often to remember what happened here to their father. And then over here nobody's respect this is did you find your father here yeah it's. Today did won't confirm there had been shot and this -- -- This was what it looked like when the allies who would push the Germans out of Rome found the bodies three months later how many bodies. 335. All civilians. The prisoners were brought -- and trucks. -- -- hands tied behind their backs. Peter Johnson also has a reason to visit decades. Back in 1944. He was a US spy working undercover in Rome. Among the victims of the massacre where 22 of his Italian agents. He attended their autopsy -- And then there were taken in five at a time. Where cop because and CEO's and officers. Shot each one in the back of the neck. -- one shot. And made them -- made the next successive five deal on top of the others so the -- has accumulated. Chris -- it it's just seems so horrifying it it's hard to believe. Herbert -- Lara lieutenant colonel was the Gestapo chief in Rome assigned to carry out the massacre. Eric -- -- a captain was capture his second in command according to this US intelligence report obtained by prime time. After the wall art Caplan was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. -- escaped from a Prisoner of War camp in 1946. And disappeared. Until we found him in Argentina just a month ago. Surprisingly or -- he told us at least part of a story that of the massacre of. Rome you know big vehicle what is that all options. Global -- governments audience yet for every job sorry -- -- -- Civilians. Should be -- -- all they have been. More bears general pace but children -- -- -- on the floor fourteen year old boys would kill. Well. In fact of fourteen year old and 215 year -- were shot that day men in their seventies shot that day a priest shot that day. And of the 335. Victims seventy were Jewish. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- All the friends. In -- Trenton new pets out of the same prime -- Pretty -- In the same date. -- -- -- pitino's family was Jewish her grandfather and 26 members of his family were killed by the Nazis. Eighteen women and children were loaded aboard trains and sent -- -- And a wedding -- yet I didn't. Even meet deputy asked for nine days. Days went to me. -- charm that's not why I'm confident that path and the man the seven man. -- he did it to date -- via dean. You were there when they were shot the civilians. Ensemble yes it's just -- to us so. But why did you shoot them they had not done anything. That plus all -- -- -- -- ball. You know that -- says -- have you know you're just following orders. But I didn't -- anybody. Didn't shoot anybody. That's not what he said what he gave this statement while being held in the POW camp in 1946. Then print guy admitted shooting two people. I went in with the second or third party and killed a man with an Italian machine pistol. Towards the end I killed another man with the same machine pistol. How do you feel inside about but I feel very bad nobody from us funded through doors and it feels it's in the K home. You know those I would have Diaz Bible say about that plus assets into applause auto by powerful -- but orders are not an excuse. It -- I -- all about while sucking all volumes. And give guided out. And -- And civilians died. Civilians died as many as will be entitled to all involved in the -- has -- -- dying and now UW feel sorry for Verdi's. -- We -- he had a good sense today. All of them that they toss. It must be -- and. He says he's. It was Jason -- -- didn't make enough. You say you feel very bad about would have the advantage. Of any of that why didn't you stand up then that will not do it I would much of these civilians. -- Jordan did things this time but be that different and I didn't -- obviously. In the sense that voyage around it wasn't it the -- -- ones nobody wants big abolish. But the boss Bob Dole's job it was Nazi. -- -- I've blessed a young man was undaunted young men and eyeballs I don't spend. Do you think because -- -- young men you should be excused from what you did. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- But should old man not pay for the crimes they committed. AB didn't good government that -- and VVVVV. Did what -- ought to let us in that volatile stock plan that was actually united civilians in time of war is against all international -- to a -- -- ought to just back. So -- -- participated in a massacre and in torture of civilians. But. There's even more. Did you deport Jews to concentration camps. You'll we'll we'll. Never -- -- never worked with I don't know I wasn't doing anything role do you consider yourself -- war criminal. Well it's quiet I know about. Well what does the records say about that. In London that the public records office we found vials which showed that after his escape in 1946. The British. French Italian and American governments were all looking for -- cut. As a suspected war criminal. In Berlin the west Germans had allegations that he was involved in the deportation of some six to 7000 Jews from Italy to the death camps. And just two days ago in Jerusalem Israeli holocaust researchers uncovered -- upload documents from -- his office. Authorizing the rest for -- an option. The deportation of Jews under the authority of SS department four -- The department headed by Adolf Eichmann. Who was eventually kidnapped from Argentina by the Israelis tried and X acute it for his crimes. How do you feel about the fact that six million Jews were executed killed. And that he saw him on a body that he's sorry but calls. It's dedicated to gated his mandate ended June but you did it all I didn't. -- moment about -- checking shoes -- -- immediately get them in as many news. Trip he was a captain -- the assets he volunteered so that he liked hitless policy. Rabbi Marvin -- is dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Nazi hunting center. He thought there was something good about the idea that the Jews on the human dimension so it's preposterous for him to look into the camera and say now. Well no he likes Jews he has nothing against Jews and that's ridiculous. So why was Eric -- cannot tried on the allegations he had sent Jews to their death. Remember he -- -- and until we found in the authorities didn't know where he was. However now in Berlin the -- to file can still be reopened. Arson assault is the deputy prosecutor there for the investigation of Nazi crimes. -- platform that does -- the fact that he was accused in the past of being responsible for deportations. Indicates he could eventually be convicted. Here in Germany. Now the man has been found. Now the onus is on Germany to say we're opening the case we want and extradited. And now's the time for Argentina -- say we're putting them on a polite. And if Germany should say it wants to try am now. Argentine foreign ministers vetoed a talent says he's -- Well if someone comes forward and demonstrates that you are harboring someone who is a Nazi war criminal what action would you take political doesn't. You would extradite the individuals this -- be -- and -- whichever comes that it becomes home. When we talk to Erik Prince he did not seem worried he lives under his own name -- -- in the eighties -- who was trailing. But by the end of the interview on he sounded unhappy they'll be able -- -- for excessive. Thoughts on nice men argued that the. Another gentlemen. I'm not a gentleman's. So why not leave Eric's -- go alone. To live out his long life unmolested by prosecutors and -- Well first -- for the future and so that would be murderers who are born tomorrow won't get the idea. That a few clever enough to hide out. Crimes against humanity can be rewarded. By society. But also rabbi -- ads for the past. Remember the faces of the doomed victim. And then asked the question. Why should the world care. Fifty years after a madman and his henchmen inflicted unspeakable horrors on humanity there is -- change among those who sheltered the criminal. The Sonoma the mixes were significant the -- -- the news. -- -- -- -- In those who will never forget they have not face the bar of justice. And -- cannot be -- refuge. And unrelenting pain. Over loved ones lost. Police and I don't belong to -- I that I -- contests and now we never forgiven them. There is no certainty of course that Germany will ask for -- -- because extradition but at least with Argentina now cooperating he and thousands of other Nazis who may still be living there must to rest less easily. And perhaps for some there will come a day of reckoning after raw. For our part we'll stay on the case.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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