Broke Greeks demand WWII compensation
Filed under: News
An outright figure is difficult to calculate, but a figure around the $90bn mark is being aired.
"The matter remains pending," reported Greek website ekathimerini Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras as saying. "Greece has never resigned its rights. The German reparations are a particularly complex legal issue and subject to study and settlement at an international level in accordance with the rules of international law."
Greece did receive a settlement in 1990 following German unification. Roll back further to 1960 and the Greeks were also paid 115m Deutsche Marks, plus individual payments were made to victims of forced labour camps. But a 476m Reichsmark payment to the Nazis from the Greek National Bank during the Second World War was never properly settled, claim some Greeks.
German newspaper Die Welt has calculated that at 3% interest this outstanding amount would be worth more than $95bn now. In 2010 alone, Greece owed around £242bn. So repaying the Greeks would shave around £59bn off its obligations.
Starvation memoryGreek left-wing politician Manolis Glezos - he was part of the Greek wartime resistance movement and personally removed the swastika flag from the Acropolis - has fuelled domestic anger at the Germans; around 300,000 civilians in Athens died from starvation alone during what became known as the Great Famine.
"The current German government," he has said, "is pursuing a policy of subordination of Greeks, of crushing their freedom and financial independence. Germany wants Greece to become little more than a financial protectorate, but the Greek people will not be so easily controlled."
OverruledComplicating the issue is a ruling this year from the International Court of Justice in the Hague. It claimed Germany is now exempt from legal action by overseas courts by Greek sufferers of German World War II atrocities.
Recent estimates from the IESEG School of Management in Lille claim that the cost of Greece quitting the euro to Germany would come in at almost €90bn - about $20bn less than the Greeks want to claw back from the Germans.
Meanwhile, drama from the Bundestag: the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund has now been given approval to go ahead but has capped Germany's liability at €190bn. Greece has, again, been given more time.