Greece makes new WWII reparations demands on Germany | News | DW
The Athens government revived its demand for wartime reparations talks with Germany just ahead of the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Greece by German troops during World War II.
“The question remains open until our demands are met. These demands are valid and active, and they will be claimed by all means,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandros Papaioannou told the German news agency DPA.
Greece last made an official call for negotiations in 2019, led by leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. But the government of current conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in January 2020 that Athens still considered the issue open, even though it had so far refrained from putting pressure on Berlin on the matter.
Nazi Germany also invaded British-controlled Crete in May 1941
Billions of damage
The cost of damage caused by Nazi Germany to Greece during the war was estimated at 289 billion euros ($ 339 billion) by a Greek parliamentary committee. This amount includes a loan that Greece was forced to grant to the German central bank.
After invading Greece on April 6, 1941, the German armed forces carried out numerous massacres in the country, with the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians during the conflict.
Germany has said it considers the issue to be resolved by the so-called two plus four agreement, signed in 1990, which saw the united Germany become fully sovereign the following year. The signatories to the treaty were the former East and West Germans and the former occupying powers, France, the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union.
Repairs were not explicitly mentioned in the document. Countries like Greece and Poland that had been invaded by Germany during the war were not included in the treaty negotiations.
A Bundestag report published in 2019 found that Greece’s claims carried legal weight, calling the German government’s position “acceptable” but “not binding” under international law.
Nazi Germany launched its invasion of Greece from Bulgaria
The German Green and Left parties strongly criticized the government’s refusal to be drawn into the negotiations. During a recent parliamentary debate on the invasion which took place in the presence of Greek Ambassador Maria Marinaki, they called for a change of course, but the call was rejected.
Bundestag Vice President Claudia Roth of the Greens said she was ashamed of Germany’s attitude, while left-wing lawmaker Heike Hänsel called the government’s position “neither morally nor legally acceptable” .
The German government says that, rather than paying reparations, it wants to promote reconciliation with Greece through commemorative and educational projects.
tj / mm (dpa, KNA)