Greece reiterates reparation claims ahead of World War II anniversary

Eighty years after Germany’s invasion of Greece in World War II, the government in Athens has reiterated its demand for negotiations on reparations for the damage wrought.

Ahead of Tuesday’s war anniversary, the Foreign Ministry said that the question of compensation is still in play from the Greek point of view.

“The question remains open until our demands are met. These demands are valid and active and they will be asserted by any means,” ministry spokesperson Alexandros Papaioannou told dpa upon request.

“Negotiations would contribute very positively to the further promotion of Greek-German relations,” he said.

The long-running issue flared up again in 2019, when Greece sent Germany a diplomatic note requesting that Berlin discuss reparations with Athens. The Greek government – led at the time by leftist prime minister Alexis Tsipras – had been asked by parliament to do so.

The government of current conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis then reaffirmed in January 2020 that the reparation question was still considered open.

Nazi Germany invaded Greece and Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941. Through 1944, the Waffen-SS and the Wehrmacht carried out numerous massacres in Greece. Tens of thousands of Greek civilians were killed in the war.

A Greek parliamentary commission has estimated the value of the war damage caused by Germany in the country at 289 billion euros (339 billion dollars), including a forced loan that Greece had to grant the German central bank during the war.

The German government considers the reparations issue resolved by the so-called Two Plus Four Agreement, which was signed in 1990 at the reunification of Germany.

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