Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Greece reminds Germany of its reparations claim

In 1944-45, a commission led by the town planner Konstantinos Doxiadis recorded the damage to Greece resulting from war and occupation by Italian and Bulgarian fascists, and the Nazis. On the basis of that report, Greece sought $17bn 1938 dollars at the Paris Peace Conference of 1946. It was awarded $7.1 billion and has received almost none of that.

The issue of reparations has been downplayed by successive governments. It was recently raised again publicly by President Karolos Papoulias during the visit to Athens of his German counterpart, who repeated the standard position that Germany accepts "historic and moral responsibility", but not financial.

Nonetheless, the Court of Audit, one of Greece's top three courts, is collating a dossier of Greece's claims, which include damages for the occupation, repayment of two war loans the Nazis exacted from the Bank of Greece, and the return of stolen antiquities.

Finally there is the National Council for the Reclamation of Germany's Debts to Greece, headed by war hero Manolis Glezos. Its approach is to demand a peace treaty with Germany, still not formally concluded since Nazi troops left Greek soil in September 1944, because to do so would involve settlement of the reparations issue.

The Al Jazeera report can be viewed here.

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