Peiper was a acknowledged and merciless war criminal (Boves, in Ukraine. His taking part in the crimes that occured is proven. He has also acknowledged to witnessing "experimentations" in Dachau in the early war on jews and on political prisoners, so was fully aware of what was going on.
He was a translator after the war of nostalgic war nazi witnesses books, one from the "division charlemagne", (the french that enrolled as SS in the nazi army
His murder, "probably by french communists" might smack of far right propaganda. Why not say it is indeed a mystery? The current theory given in 2 recent french books is that Peiper probably fakes his own death in the arson of his house to avoid being prosecuted by italian justice. Indeed, he was discovered as a war criminal by the french communiste newspaper "l'humanité" 3 weeks before his "death". And Italy (itself full of bullshit as it had never ever prosecuted one of its own war criminals, said that the trial in Germany, that released Peiper had been a mockery,
Joachim Peiper was not involved with the Malmedy massacre, the only reason that he gets s much attention about it is because he was the responsible officer of the unit that shot the soldiers. What happened at Malmedy is to this day unknown.
It is "proven" that Paul Cacheux was leader of the group that murdered Joachim Peiper, but it is unclear if it was a failed attempt to scare him, or if it was a assasination.
The Malmedy massacre was a war crime in which 84 American prisoners of war were murdered by their German captors during World War II. The massacre was committed on December 17, 1944, by members of Kampfgruppe Peiper (part of the 1st SS Panzer Division), a German combat unit, during the Battle of the Bulge.
The massacre, as well as others committed by the same unit on the same day and following days, was the subject of the Malmedy massacre trial, part of the Dachau Trials of 1946. The trials were the focus of some controversy.
Although one might think there was no direct involvment of Peiper in the Malmedy massacre, the fact is that Peipers' "Kampfgruppe" has left a bloody trail during its run from Lanzerath to La Gleize where it was finally stopped by the US armed forces. During their trial in Dachau, Peipers and his men, but also the commander of the 6th Panzer Army, Sepp Dietrich were accused of having killed in cold blood more that 300 American POWs Honsfeld, Büllingen, Ondenval, Malmedy, Ligneuville, Stavelot and Stoumont. Moreover, there were also charges of cold blood killing of some 90 civilians (including women and (very) young children) in Stavelot and the surrounding area.
Several testimonies of his own men made during the Malmedy massacre trial (one of the Dachau trials) and before stated he would have ordered to make no prisoners and/or to have ordered the cold-killing of some of them.
Moreover, on the East front Peiper and his men had already got within the SS troops (no less!) a reputation of mercyless soldiers since they had burned several Russian villages and killed their inhabitants.
A few kilometres north of Cuneo in Italy, lies the town of Boves. After September 8th, 1943, it became an active center of the Italian underground because of the stationing of many stragglers from the now disbanded Regio Esercito (Royal Italian Army). These partisans were led by Bartolomeo Giuliano, Ezio Aceto and Ignazio Vian. After repeated requests to surrender, the partisans refused in spite of leaflets being dropped by the SS. On the 17th of September the German commander, SS Major Joachim Peiper, ordered two gun crews to shell the town. The partisans again refused to surrender. Two German soldiers were then sent forward (as decoys) to be captured by the partisans. Hoping they would be killed, it would give Peiper the pretext for a slaughter. The parish priest, Father Giuseppe Bernardi and the industrialist, Alessandro Vassallo, were ordered to meet with the partisans and to persuade them to release the two soldiers. The priest asked Peiper 'Will you spare the town?'. Peiper gave his word and the two prisoners were released. But the blood-thirsty SS then proceeded to burn all the houses in the town after which Father Bernardi and Vassallo were put into a car to do an inspection of the devastated town. 'They must admire the spectacle' said Peiper. After the inspection, Father Bernardi and his companion, Vassallo, were sprinkled with petrol and set alight. Both were burned to death. Forty-three other inhabitants of Boves were killed that day and 350 houses destroyed. Next day, a column of armoured vehicles went up the road that led to the partisan base. A lucky shot from their only 75 mm gun destroyed the leading armoured car. After an intense fire-fight the SS retreated with heavy losses. One of the partisan leaders, Ignazio Vian, was later captured by the SS and hanged in Turin. On the wall of his cell he had written in his own blood the words "Better Die Rather Than Betray