World War II Reparations Campaign in Athens Subway



World War II reparations
Screens across Athens subway stations are showing a government-backed film in which Greece is demanding World War II reparations from Germany.

The 50-second video clip shows footage from the Nazi occupation (1941-1944) that has cost Greece hundreds of thousands deaths and hundreds of billion in damages and looting. The short film is shown in 35 metro stations of the capital.

So far Berlin has acknowledged the moral obligation to compensate the families of the victims but says that the reparations issue has been settled in 1990, when the country was re-unified and a treaty was signed between Germany and the Allies — including Greece — in which they renounced all claims as the victors.

“The Ministry of Defense in March met organizations working on the issue of World War II remembrance and German reparations to encourage initiatives to promote the subject, and the idea for this short was born,” Markos Charitos, who sits on the newly formed parliamentary committee that pursues war reparations, told AFP.

The film shows images of German planes flying over the Parthenon and the words “World War II, resistance, we do not forget.” A series of black and white photographs shows the cost in human lives.

Russia to help Greece in its pursuit of World War II reparations

Moscow is to help Athens in the investigation for World War II reparations from Germany by providing access to Russian archives from the period.

Following a request by Alternate Defense Minister Costas Isichos, the Russian Embassy in Athens has provided Greek authorities with a list of archives, including documents, photographs and footage.


46 COMMENTS

  1. Ironic to have the campaign in the subway, the very subway funded by EU and thus largely by Germany.

  2. Of course Greece is nothing to blame during history, they are and were all saints over there.

  3. I read William L. Shirer’s book “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” not long after it was published 55 years ago, and was shocked. And even as late as last night, watching a documentary, I was shocked to the extent of being ashamed to be part of the human race that could do such things.

    We are just a week past the 70th anniversary of VE Day, 3 months short of the 70th anniversary of VJ Day, and 7 months short of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, where my father was stationed at the time, where more than 2,500 people were killed in a few hours on 7 Dec 1941.

    This horrific war ended 70 years ago – the German and Japanese aggressors were defeated – and the death toll was something like 73 million.

    Both sides were involved in wholesale destruction of cities in Europe, and this carried over to the systematic destruction of cities in Japan [At this point I disclose that my father was a member of a USAAF 5th Airforce B24 bomber crew in the Pacific].

    General Curtis Le May, who oversaw the bombing of cities in Japan said afterwards “If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.”

    There was a lot of sorting out of who owes who afterwards with reparations. In USA the government even paid reparations to the survivors and their descendants of Japanese who were interred in the USA.

    70 years after this war it is time to learn the value of tolerance and peace and live a better life in a more tolerant society.

    I think what the Greek government is doing with these subway videos is wrong and regrettable. It is taking people back to those days, not for any educational purpose, but to reopen the wounds for the sake of seeking further reparations.

    World War 2 ended with the use of two atomic bombs, destroying two whole cities. Fortunately these weapons have never been used since. The allies celebrate the end of the war with parades, such as that in Russia. The Japanese refer to VJ day as “the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace” – that’s an appropriate way to think of that day.

    I believe the World has learned and moved on, and I wish the Greek government not reopen the wounds for the sake of money.

  4. I would hope that the Greek government cancels its campaign against Germany for increased reparations. To re-open the wounds of that war and risk disunity for the sake of more money is a bad idea, especially when Greece is seeking billions of euros from Europe on the basis of European unity.

  5. I would hope that the Greek government cancels its campaign against Germany for increased reparations. To re-open the wounds of that war and risk disunity for the sake of more money is a bad idea, especially when Greece is seeking billions of euros from Europe on the basis of European unity.

  6. 1919/1920 occopation by the Greek army region Izmir/Smyrna
    1921 massacres and looting by the Greek in that area
    27-08-1922 defeated by the Turks
    Just wikipedia, so i supose YOU dont know your history, or just selective.

  7. We can agree Greece is to blame on debt but I think you need to look more carefully at Wikipedia. I’d agree Greece has been a deadbeat when it comes to repaying debts but compared to the atrocities of most countries. Greece’s “crimes” have mostly been around trying to liberate lands we actually lived on. (and have been living on for time immemorial)

    We will slaughter anyone that threatens our homeland but you don’t see Greeks showing up with black shirts in Berlin. There have never been Greek concentration camps. We have never had slavery (or at least not in modern era where human beings know better). We didn’t invade the new world to steal lands of native Indians. We fought communists (the half of us that managed to defeat the communists). We decriminalized homosexuality long before countries like UK. Low murder rate. Equal rights for women. Free press. Democracy.

    Greece actually has a pretty good human rights record.. something you’d never guess with all fashionable racist Greek bashing these days (which is far different than criticism of some particular Greek, some particular political faction, or some government policy ). Many of the people that lecture Greeks about ethics are simultaneously trying to ethnically exterminate Greek (see Skopje issue).

  8. An inversion of ethics. Izmir/Smyrna was historically Greek lands.. as was all of Asia Minor until the Ottomans showed up and savagely murdered and oppressed the Greeks living there. Today there is barely any Greeks left. The Turks of that era who you portray as “victims” were responsible for internationally recognized genocide against Armenians. Claiming them “victims” is like claiming the Nazis as “victims” to the allies.

    The Ottomans also tried mass murdering Greeks (and many others) to keep their Islamic theocracy together. Had we not all fought the Turks, we would still be living in that Islamic totalitarian state… or all murdered. For all its flaws, believe me you would rather live in Greece than under Islamic theocratic rule.

  9. When are leftists going to pay for the crimes they committed against Greeks? You know when they burned our homes, killed our cousins, and robbed us clean for sake of IMRO, Tito and Stalin.

    I jest. I don’t expect money since of course most of our communists are broke shameless freeloaders whose only reason for demanding reparations isn’t principles. It’s to try and extort money from Germans. However it would be nice to hear a single Marxist apologize for the treason and atrocities communists committed on the Greek people during civil war.

  10. “if you sincerely believe that Greek are saints”

    With comments like that you only gain the appearance of someone just trying throw mud at Greece rather than being concerned with ethics.

    You very well know I criticize Greeks for things they do wrong (including making mess of our fiances and voting for communists and fascists). However, I will not criticize Greeks for crimes they did not commit . That would amount to ethnic demagoguery against Greeks… also known as racism.

    If we are talking Greeks in modern times their ethics have not been “saintly” but still typically been better than most countries. Financial crime is still a crime (and certainly not admirable) but compare that to crimes committed by fascists? Not even close. Or how about crimes of Soviet Bloc nations during cold war? Islamic extremists? Some banana republic South American and African dictatorships?

    There are a few countries with better records then Greece but don’t use Greece’s botched fiances, petty corruption, and present political situation as the only measure of Greece. To this day, you have a far greater chance of getting robbed and killed by an American walking the streets of Washington DC then you do by a Greek in Athens. Greece does not invade countries for non-existent WMDs. Greece does not use mass surveillance against a global population. Greece does not engage in state sponsored torture. Greece does not execute mentally retarded people. I could go on…

    “no use trying you to convince that Greek and Greece are not different from other ppl. or nations.”

    No one claimed this other than you. You are the one that keeps speaking about Greeks as if they are the filth of the world rather than people just like you. Every country has a ranking of things it does good and bad. You resort to extreme exaggeration to demonize all Greeks.

  11. You need to distinguish between Greek leftists and Greeks. They are not the same thing. Most Greeks that aren’t leftists support austerity and don’t ridiculously blame German’s for our current economic problems.

    However, this does not mean that Greece’s point that Germany’s WW2 debts to Greece were never paid in full isn’t true. Anyone that argues otherwise is a liar. The only reason WW2 debt came up was because so many German populists started to demonize and humiliate Greeks over unpaid debts — meanwhile Germany is the biggest defaulter of debt in European history (by a long shot).

    Directly after Nazis attempted to wipe us all out, all of Europe forgave Germans. Rather than face WW2 debt load that would have led to complete dismantlement of Germany, it received massive debt relief. So how is a Greek today supposed to feel and react when they listen to German populists lecture about the evil Greek?

    The Greek state should pay its debts… with the caveat it can.With a 30% smaller economy, high unemployment, and Marxists basket cases running things I don’t think it can. So EU will be faced with a choice. Either nail Greece to the wall (i.e. behavior of Europe towards Germany post Versailles) or work through things even though current situation is entirely Greece’s fault (the behavior of Europe towards Germany post WW2)

  12. Besides as i recal Smyrna became Izmir in 1415 and before that there were Arabs, Seltsjoeks and Byzantines.

  13. Check Wikipedia -your favorite learning tool. Izmir is coming from the Greek city Smyrna a 2700 years old Greek city. That’s what the were reclaiming. The same way Greece was reclaimed from 400 years of ottoman occupation.

    PS.

    I am convinced you are a payed troll for traffic generation.

  14. 1) The EEC will also seize to exist by Paul Krugman , Nobody gets judged with what they say but what they do.
    2) you obviously don’t understand how the bank losses get transferred on taxpayers. Explain how the debt has increased 80% since the first loan. Let me explain how. 90% from previous loan goes back to the banks so mathematically is not sustainable and everyone knows it.
    3) read my 2). this is not a loan. It is debt recycling scheme that attempts the take over countries assets. It is an economic warfare. Of course the whole cycle starts with corrupt politicians and that’s what Greeks got ( hopefully) rid off.

    Nice chatting with you. I hope the Greek.reporter is paying you well for trolling around. It seems the only one that responds to you is me , so not sure if the traffic you generating is worth it.

  15. Ah racism, yes we know all about that, how are Greek discriminated in your opinion? Since you claim that you must tellme.
    You cant just shout something and thats it…thats not the way.
    I see noone discriminate Greek over here, as far as there are some, mostly owning a restaurant.
    Nor do i read in papers them beeing discriminated, only the attitude of the Greek gov. concerning their behouviour in this financial drama is dicussed.

  16. 1) Yeh well..fortunately mister Krugman has no crystal ball.
    2) I very well understand how bank losses arise, in this case in Greece.
    You cannot pay your interest on previous loans with new loans, thats why.
    and that answer includes you number 3 also.
    “Trolling” is an ugly word, in this case its used by someone who has no answers and therefore using it.

  17. Well since 1453 it aint anymore, nor was it before that.
    If you want to claim it a Greek town you have to go back even further.
    You live in the far past and are a nationalist for 200%.

  18. There is mass racism towards Greeks these days.

    a. Over-the-top rhetoric over Greeks botched government fiances is framed as if every Greek is the problem.

    b. Virtually everyone that called Skopje “macedonia” now unethically plays innocent as Skopje manipulate name to usurp Greek history and uses it to promote irredentism (effectively morally complicit in subtle attempt to ethnic cleanse Greeks)

  19. We are taking about Germany here not the entire EU. Germany is responsible for actions of Germany not UK. As for Greece… I agree my country is to blame for the current debt mess. I would completely agree Syriza are nitwits.

    I would also note Syriza won the last Greek election with less percentage of the vote than Hitler yet Germany was given massive debt relief post WW2 (including never fully covering damages to Greece). Unfortunately some German populists, presumably tired of listening about Germany’s Nazi past…..but so not tired of demonizing Greece for its mistakes… prefer that history start in in 1946. Merkel on the other hand is not a populist. She’s very intelligent and thus far very reasonable in her words and actions. She’s the one keeping the EU together while populists are harming it.

    Those that are looking to negative stereotype one side as all good and the other all bad are populists. Different borders are not evidence of moral or intellectual superiority of individuals. Unfortunately with the rise of populists in both Germany and Greece both governments have now taken unreasonable all-in positions. The German populists self-righteously use a moral hazard argument and expect Greece to completely dismantle itself to pay for its mistakes (far different treatment than Germany received post WW2). The Greek populists shamelessly expect German taxpayers to fund their lifestyle. Someone whose being objective would see both positions aren’t sustainable.

  20. I don’t know your personal politics. I just constantly try to point out despite Greek leftists trying to portray Syriza as some sort of moderate left party… their leadership is virtually all communists (including Tsipiras). The fact so many alleged “moderate” Greek leftist would vote for a communist leader not only shows the extent of incompetence going on in Greece but how little “Greek” leftists care about Hellenism.

    I literally despise communist “Greeks”. The only reason I don’t advocate outright expelling or even shooting the “Greeks” that support communism (for treason) is because I’m a Democrat. Since the communists respected the electoral process this time (rather than say mass murder Greeks to institutionalize communist tyranny like they did during the civil war), they have a right to be represented.

    However, if Syriza engage in treason with Skopje again, or lose an election and the savages start up their endless undemocratic rioting again (the typical way communists gain power is through terrorism not elections), my view might change. If it comes down to Hellenism versus communism, unlike “Greek” leftists, Greeks know where their loyalties lay.

  21. I would call them Romans (their choice of names) or Greeks (their choice of language and education). Calling them “Byzantines”, a name my ancestors never used to describe themselves, is roughly akin to referencing middle ages German-speakers of the the Holy Roman Empire… .”Praguetines”. It’s an implicit attempt not only to delete our connection to ancient Greeks but even our middle ages ancestors.

    I find it amazing many of people that claim to have principles that claim self-naming an absolute right for Skopje… then go on to claim the exact opposite for both ancient Macedonians (who indisputably self-identified as Hellenes) and for what they frame as “Byzantines”.

  22. “You live in the past with your Greek obsession.”

    This is just one more example of your unprincipled behavior and Greek bashing. One could argue the same thing of any group in Europe with an identity. The Dutch are living in the past with their Dutch identity. So how would people in the Netherlands feel if vast numbers of German nationalist extremists were encouraging irredentism against Netherlands (calling it occuiped Germany) while nearly everyone pretended not to notice?

    I realize Greek bashing is very “in” these days but you as an individual do not have to participate.

  23. What is true, is Germany razed Greece during the war.. and never paid in full for that mistake. What is also true is once one factors in inflation and compounding interest the portion given by Germans towards servicing Greece’s mistakes isn’t even close.

    Greece is certainly to blame for its current economic fiasco so it’s become very fashionable to criticize Greece but Greeks are not wrong about this point. The very fact some try to portray Greece as inaccurate
    on this point is just evidence of prejudices towards Greeks… and dishonesty.

    France could argue the position you say but not Germany. Germans all very well know they didn’t pay up their debts post WW2… when massive amount of both WW1 and WW2 was written off. Europeans, including Greeks, all took our lumps for Germany. I don’t think its fair that German taxpayers be perpetually held accountable for past national mistakes but at the same time I think the same is true of Greece.

    If ethics are the concern here.. and European unity… then Germans know what side of the argument they ultimately need to fall on. The morally and intellectually correct solution is enough debt relief to enable an interest included surplus but only on condition Greece agrees to maintain that surplus by not trying to roll back cuts (or at least not until it can afford for services Greek leftists demand). Both sides have to give in a little to reach a fair compromise.

  24. “I see none discriminate Greek over here”

    The very fact you are blind to the massive racism directed at Greeks (on global level) is only further evidence of your own prejudices.

    Visit any website in the world and read the comments section when Greek related articles come up. The majority of criticisms do not distinguish between things that are wrong with Greece and Greeks as a people. Thus is Golden Dawn are racist…the criticism becomes all Greeks are racist. It Syriza is elected into office… all Greeks support the communists. etc. Often even mainstream media use such stereotypes (see Bild in German) This isn’t ethnics. This is ethnic demagoguery.. aka racism.

    Then throw in the name dispute where nearly everyone that called them “Macedonians” unethically acts like they don’t notice Skopje’s attempts to frame themselves founders of the Hellenistic period and manipulation of the name “Macedonia” to insinuate Macedonia Greece is occupied territory. Apparently collusion with those that want to ethnic cleanse Greeks, in particular Macedonian ones, is “human rights” now.

  25. As I said I see nothing of discrimination over here concerning Greek ppl.
    Of course there are ppl. whining about Greece and perhaps about Greek also worldwide,
    but thats global and that happens with/about other countries also.
    Calling that “massive racism” is in my opinion excessive.
    In Greece there is golden dawn, i think its far more extreme then Wilders, as for Shyriza is extreme left i dont know, i dont live in Greece.
    As a matter of fact its not my concern nor my responsibility how both act.
    I supose they act within the law, I know golden down has to go to court and that has its reasons i assume.
    Dont play the “underdog” playing the racism card, even the word racism is discutable in this context.
    Here, in the Netherlands, the issue Greece is not that much on tv, in Germany far more, as i watch from to time their programms.
    I supose thats because since decades the dutch tv. has a very strong left influence, oh yes “they” try to manipulate us also in different ways.
    As concerning the word “Macedonia” I said whats my opinion about that.
    If you would google about this question you would see how ppl. global think about Greeces attitude concerning that word, and you will discover that almost noone cares but the Greek, but he, thats their good right, be angry at your neighbour as much as you want.

  26. I think we live in the present not blocking Belgium from a membership because we once were one country.
    We are not obsessed by our “Dutch identity”.
    If you know for sure that ppl. living on the other side of the border as your neighbour are “national extremists” then thats your opinion, not mine, and if you even think they would “occupy Greece” if they could, well he, thats also your opinion.
    And you act like that in writing too.
    In my opnion this is a completly none comparison.
    I am still waiting were i bash Greek you didn’t give me an answer yet….

  27. I think the same conversation writing twice is not necessary as i did give you an anwer already in another topic how i look at this matter.
    How you think about it is clear to me now.

  28. People very well know the difference between Greek and Greece.
    As voor b it has no use everything tripple writing.
    I know your opnion about it, you know mine, and i tdont think that would change a bit
    in th efuture for both sides.
    And thats ok, everybody has the right to its own opinion.

  29. Yeh, well everbody knows thats impossible because there is freedom of religion.
    Fact is that a lot of Dutch have enough of the attitude of a smal amount of moslims living here.
    Fact is also that most Dutch think the large number of Marocans and Turks are to much pampered by the governement.
    So all together the freedom party gets enough voters, they are the messengers of a part of the Dutch saying they dont like the way the gov. since 40 years acts towards immigrants.
    The politic “elite” however doesnt want to hear, that.

  30. “racism” ,as the word indicates already,has nothing to do with the attitude of /towards ppl.
    Mentioning negative stereotypes and Greek in one sentence is therefore no racism because it has nothing to do with “race”.
    Never the less i understand your point of view in this.
    If i read the papers here or the German ones i dont see extreme opinions on a large scale.
    Those “few Greek leftist” are chosen by the Greek ppl. and have the power over there, they can cause a lot of turmoil thats why the Germans have that reaction as everyone has in the EU.
    As i already said, realy nobody in the world cares about Macedon,
    as a name that is.
    Just Greek and “the ones at the other side of the border” since i dont want to upset you.
    If the Germans would claim that option wich is unthinkable of course, they should have a good reason to do so, and they dont.
    In the early 50’s even the Dutch gave back a piece of land to the Germans they got after the war as compensation.

  31. “What is also true is once one factors in inflation and compounding interest the portion given by Germans towards servicing Greece’s mistakes isn’t even close.”

    Yes. Germany was razed to the ground, lost a third of its territory, was forcibly divided for two generations, and only regained its sovereignty forty-five years after its conquest.

    “I don’t think its fair that German taxpayers be perpetually held accountable for past national mistakes but at the same time I think the same is true of Greece.”

    No one now alive in Germany had any leadership role in the Third Reich. Conversely, not only is the electorate in Greece responsible for the past decades’ governments still alive, but many of the politicians and other figures involved are still active on the scene.

  32. “I would also note Syriza won the last Greek election with less percentage of the vote than Hitler yet Germany was given massive debt relief post WW2 (including never fully covering damages to Greece).”

    Germany was conquered, lost a third of its territory permanently, was divided into two states for a couple of generations, and only regained its sovereignty forty-five years later. Germany hardly got away lightly.

    It might be worth looking at East Germany. After reunification, that region went through absolutely wrenching change, seeing the collapse of its Communist-era economy and mass migration under a West German-designed program of economic reform. Why, Germans might reasonably ask, should Greece not go through a similar process?

  33. “Germany was conquered, lost a third of its territory permanently, was
    divided into two states for a couple of generations, and only regained
    its sovereignty forty-five years later. Germany hardly got away lightly.”

    Germany territory was much smaller a century prior so saying it lost 1/3 isn’t quite the entire picture. Also keep in mind Greece only defaulted on debt whereas Germans tried to eradicate everyone in Europe

    “Why, Germans might reasonably ask, should Greece not go through a similar process?”

    Any foreign that claims Greece hasn’t undergone reforms is a populist. Greece has undergone massive reforms these last few years (the enormous cuts and changes is why Greek populists) I would not.. the debt relief Greece (as percentage of GDP) received is far less than Germany Post WW2.

  34. “Germany was conquered”

    Correction.Germany was defeated after Nazis attacked everyone.

  35. ” Also keep in mind Greece only defaulted on debt whereas Germans tried to eradicate everyone in Europe”

    And Germany stopped being a sovereign state for 45 years.

    Central Europe countries after Communism went through economic transitions of similar rigour. Greece is hardly alone.

  36. No. Germant was not “conquered”. Conquered implies others attacking and Germany as the victim. The reality the rest of the world were defending themselves against attempted genocide by the Nazis.

  37. Yes, Germany was conquered by the Allies. This is a good thing, as I’m sure the Germans would agree.

  38. What is morally reprehensible is those that act like only Greece defaulted on debts when Greece itself was never paid in full for WW2 damages and Germany was the biggest defaulter of debt in modern European history. Amazing how the memory and “ethics” of populists work.