After receiving 326 billion euros ($414.34 billion) in three international bailouts – much of it from Germany – Greece now wants Berlin to pay $317.75 billion in damages for World War II when the Nazis ravaged the country, looted gold and art treasures, committed atrocities and destroyed infrastructure.
The request has been repeated many times and rejected every time with Germany saying the 115 million Deutschmarks paid in 1960, equivalent to $317.69 million today, settled the matter once and for all although it’s just a smidgen of the damage done.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier earlier in October apologized for the Nazis destroying much of Greece and murdering thousands of civilians, including women and children but that didn’t cut it for the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who was all buddy-buddy with German Chancellor Angela Merkel when Greece needed loans.
Costas Douzinas, who heads the Greek parliament’s Defence and Foreign Relations Committee, told the British newspaper The Express that, “This is an issue that psychologically still rankles, and as a government we are absolutely determined to raise it. Obviously Greece couldn’t do that when it was in a bailout program receiving loans from the EU and Berlin. It would have been totally contradictory.”
Greece also said it’s owed the equivalent of $12.71 billion for loan that Adolf Hitler’s forces seized from the Greek central bank in 1943.
Douzinas, a professor of law at London University, said: “What we now have is a complete reading of the situation with a report that looks at the total damage inflicted on the country and its people during Nazi occupation. In the past there were appraisals of the destruction wrought in individual incidents but never on this scale.”
To prepare their report, officials examined more than 400,000 pages of records from US national archives chronicling the atrocities, as well as other documents from Russia, the paper said.
Successive Greek governments have kept repeating the demand for reparations and either been ignored or told again and again that the 1960 payment was the last money they’d ever see from Germany that wasn’t a loan that had to be repaid.