Monday, February 9, 2015

Germany Rejects Greece's Renewed Call for World War II Reparations from the Nazi Occupation of the Early 1940's

""The German government has dismissed calls from the new Greek prime minister, for Berlin to pay billions of euros in reparations for the crimes of the Nazis during the Second World War occupation of Greece.

Alexis Tsipras, who is trying to find a way to reduce Greece's massive debt, said in a speech to parliament late on Sunday that Greece has a “moral obligation” to demand reparations from Germany.

Greece has an obligation “to our people, to history, to all European peoples who fought and gave their blood against Nazism,” he said.
But the response from Germany was blunt.

“The likelihood is zero,” Sigmar Gabriel, Angela Merkel’s vice-chancellor, told a party meeting in the state of Brandenburg.

The German government says the matter is not open for discussion, and that a final settlement was reached on the question of war reparations in the treaty which reunified Germany in 1990.

“For us there is no question. The question has already been resolved and there is no further issue,” a spokeswoman for the German Finance Ministry told The Telegraph.

Mr Tsipras is not the first Greek leader to raise the issue of war reparations. Greek governments have claimed repeatedly over the years that Germany never paid proper reparations for the damage done by the Nazi occupation, and the issue has dogged relations between the two countries.

The Nazis famously subdued Greek resistance in a matter of weeks in 1941, after the Greeks had held out for months against Mussolini’s Italian army. The occupation that followed was brutal even by Nazi standards, and 40,000 civilians starved to death in Athens alone.

The demand for reparations centres on two issues: a war loan of 476 million Reichsmarks that the Bank of Greece was forced to make to the Nazis – essentially the Greeks were made to pay the costs of their own occupation – and compensation for the destruction and suffering caused by the occupation.

The loan, which was never directly repaid, would amount to some €11bn (£8bn) today before interest. A Greek commission of inquiry last year determined that Germany owes Greece a total of around €160bn (£120bn) before interest, to cover the loan and the cost of damage from the occupation.""

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