As Greeks solemnly remembered the horrific acts of 72 years ago (when the first of 19 trains transported nearly 50,000 local jews to Nazi death camps), the Greek President Pavlopoulos made statements today that he "remains adamant" that "Greece's demands for German war reparations and the occupation loan are active and can be claimed legally." German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has once again ruled out the possibility of a retreat from what Berlin has already officially said on the matter - that the issue has been settled decades ago. But, today the Greek Defense Minister issued a statement confirming that archives that they possess from Nazi armed forces support the country's claims for reparations.
As we previously explained, Kathimerini reports,
Greece's Supreme Court ruled in favor of Distomo survivors in 2000, but the decision has not been enforced. Distomo, a small village in central Greece, lost 218 lives in a Nazi massacre in 1944.
“The law states that in order to implement the ruling of the Supreme Court, the minister of justice has to order it. I believe this permission should be given and I’m ready to give it, notwithstanding any obstacles," Paraskevopoulos told Antenna TV on Wednesday.
“There must probably be some negotiation with Germany,” said Paraskevopoulos, who first announced his intention Tuesday during a Parliament debate on the creation of a committee to seek war reparations, the repayment of a forced loan and the return of antiquities.
But, as Bloomberg now reports, it apoears the Greek legal standing just improved further...
Greece to use archives it possesses of Wehrmacht, or Nazi armed forces, to support country’s claim for war reparations from Germany for damages inflicted during World War II in period 1941-1944, Greek Defense Ministry says in e-mailed statement.
Archives on Nazi occupation of Greece contain >400,000 pages.
Work to digitize microfilms containing archives to be completed soon.
Archives include Wehrmacht officer diary entries, reports to superiors.
As would be expected, GreekReporter notes, Germany is not happy...
The long standing dispute regarding Germany’s war reparations toward Greece have once again topped news headlines in both countries, amid a “cold” period in their relations. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has once again ruled out the possibility of a retreat from what Berlin has already officially said on the matter. As he explained in an interview to Austrian newspaper Der Standard, in which he also commented on the Greek program, the issue has been settled decades ago.
At the same time, Spiegel became the first German publication to propose that World War II reparations should be paid to Greece in order to close the matter and subtract an argument from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ negotiations quiver. The article noted that such a move would be politically and morally correct, and added that this will also reduce the arguments of the Greek side.
“Alexis Tsipras has threatened with confiscation of German property in Greek territory,” the article reminded, regarding Greek media reports on the matter, which said that this would be the Greek government’s “plan b,” while adding that Defense Minister Panos Kammenos has argued that the war reparations payment would be a good solution for today’s debt crisis.
“Seventy years after the war ended and while there has been a large transfer of funds through the European Union, this is not honest,” Spiegel noted, blaming the German government for helping the Greek criticism when appearing unwilling to discuss the matter and repeated that it has already been settled.
As we concluded previously,
...digging up old wounds will merely accelerate the (less than) amicable parting of ways, especially after a speech earlier by ECB's Draghi in which he said that ECB bond buying "may be shielding countries in the euro zone from any knock-on effect from events in Greece, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Wednesday."
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