Germany refuses to open negotiations on Greek WWII Reparations

German soldiers raising the German War Flag over the Acropolis. <a href=>Photo Credit</a>
German soldiers raising the German War Flag over the Acropolis. Photo Credit

The people of Greece suffered enormously from the Nazi occupation of their country in WWII.  Their industry was devastated, as was the civilian infrastructure such as ports, roads, railways and bridges.

Many Greeks were murdered by occupying soldiers, and the Nazis plundered their natural resources, leading to what the Greeks termed “The Great Famine.”

Not only that, the Nazi regime also forced the Greek central bank to loan Germany the sum of 476 million Reichsmarks at a zero interest rate.

In 1960, the Greek government accepted 115 million Marks from West Germany as compensation for these crimes but maintain that they did not consider this final payment of reparations but rather a down payment.

Greece was not a signatory to the Two Plus Four Agreement in 1990, which settled the issue of reparation for the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union.

Since this date, Germany has insisted that the issue reparations to Greece is done and dusted, but the Greek people and Government vehemently disagree.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the German Government, said last week, “The question of German reparations has been conclusively dealt with, legally and politically.”

This statement caused the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to demand that Berlin enters into negotiations with Greece regarding reparations. Germany was the major contributor to the recent plan to support the Greek economy.

The Greek Government has recently concluded an investigation into the Nazi occupation and the damage caused.

Their report has not been released to the public, but leaked information indicates that the report shows the sum calculated by the Greek government as owed by Germany to be in the region of 300-400 billion Euros ($340-$450 billion).

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE