Germany Completely Rejects Greek Demands for War Reparations



German officials rising the flag of the Third Reich on Athens’ Acropolis Hill during the occupation of Greece by Germany. Credit: Bundesarkiv

One day after the Greek ambassador in Berlin presented a ”note verbale” to the German Foreign Affairs Ministry, asking Germany to negotiate with Greece on outstanding World War I and II reparations and compensation, the German Ministry issued a direct rejection of the Greek demands.

“Over seventy years after the end of WWII and more than twenty five years after the ”2+4 Committee” (Germany’s reunification in 1990), the question of reparations has been legally and politically settled,” said Rainer Breul, the spokesman for the GermanForeign Ministry.

Breul added that Germany accepts its moral responsibility for the Nazi atrocities, and it also seeks dialogue with Greece, in order to create what it calls a “common culture of remembrance” on the issue.

On April 17, the Greek Parliament’s plenary ratified a report by the inter-party Parliamentary Committee which paved the way for a diplomatic move on the issue, calling for the pursuing of demands for €300 billion in damages.

The findings of the report have been described as the first complete summation of all the Nazi atrocities committed in Greece.

Greek claims concern reparations for losses and damage suffered by Greece and its citizens in WWI and II, compensation for the German occupation’s victims and their descendants, and the repayment of the loan Nazi Germany forcefully extracted forcefully from Greece. The nation is also calling for the return of its priceless archaeological treasures which were looted by the Germans.

Similar demands have been made recently by other European nations, such as Poland, a country which suffered incalculable destruction between 1939 and 1945 at the hands of the Nazis.

The German press was seen as presenting the issue of the latest Greek demands from a cynical point of view. For example, the German television channel ARD noted that ”the end of EU’s bailouts for Greece, are obviously perceived by Tsipras as a great chance to make such demands.”