Greek Antiquities Pillaged By Nazis

669B2B82D773AF66863377F9D3C86B25The pillaging of Greek antiquities during the German Occupation of WWII could surpass more than 8,500, according to the journalist Giorgos Lekakis. If those items were sold today in auction houses, their value would reach €1 trillion, or about $1.3 trillion, he said.

The German occupiers were disrespectful even towards the Acropolis. In 1941, they installed anti-aircraft batteries inside the Parthenon. They installed platoons of soldiers that engaged themselves in indescribable crimes. They shot the sculptures and used the monumental gateway to the Acropolis (Propylaea) as a latrine.

They turned the Museum of Livadia into a garage for repairing bicycles. German archaeologists robbed museums and carried out illegal excavations in 17 areas of Greece, the various finds of which were sent to Germany.

In 1944, during their departure from Athens, Germans shot and used their bayonets to destroy statues and vases on the Acropolis and in the Kerameikos (Ancient Cemetery), as described in a 1946 report by the then Greek Ministry of Education. In various regions as Thiva, Heronia and Tanagra the occupiers stole treasures, chased Greeks out of the museum and installed themselves in it. In Mycenae they shot the Lion Gate and caused extensive damage to the Treasury of Atreus.

In Knossos, a German general ripped off the museum; soldiers carried out boxes of Minoan, bronze and stone statues from the museum to his mansion.

Archeologists from the Archeological Service in Greece had the foresight to hide many of the antiquities before the German invasion and also had the courage to protect them. The German Conquerors tried hard to discover the hidden antiquities by exerting pressure, but they met with the stubborn resistance of Greek archaeologists.