Greece threatens to seize property, land and businesses belonging to Germany if Angela Merkel does not agree to pay compensation for WWII occupation
Greece is threatening to seize property, land and businesses belonging to Germany if Berlin does not agree to compensate it for the Nazi occupation of the Second World War.
Prime minister Alexis Tsipras has demanded Germany pay more than £112billion in reparations.
He said previous payments did not cover demands for destroyed infrastructure, compensation for war crimes and the return of a forced loan to the Nazis.
In an emotive address to his parliament he spoke of his government pursuing its ‘duty to history’ and the people who ‘fought and gave their lives to defeat Nazism’. Germany angrily dismissed the demands Tuesday, saying it had paid reparations to Greece.
A spokesman for German chancellor Angela Merkel said the issue had been ‘legally and politically resolved’ at that time and during the talks which led to German reunification in 1990.
But Greek politicians upped the ante with justice minister Nikos Paraskevoloulos saying he was ready to back a High Court ruling from 2000 allowing Athens to seize German-owned property to compensate the victims of a Nazi massacre of 218 Greek civilians in the village of Distomo.
The ruling about German assets can only be backed by a justice minister and his predecessors have always baulked at doing so. It relates to a specific atrocity in the village in which Nazi forces went on a two-hour rampage butchering men, women and children in what they said was retaliation for an attack on them by resistance forces.
Meanwhile in Germany there were claims of a wider ranging plan to take German assets.
Spiegel magazine yesterday reported that it had learned of a plan to seize German property and assets if the reparations demand was dismissed.
It claimed this would involve the seizure of the Goethe Institute, Germany’s flagship cultural organization abroad, as well as businesses and assets of German firms. Resentment about the four-year Nazi occupation of Greece in which some 250,000 people were killed, is long-standing.
But it has been revived by the painful austerity measures imposed by the Eurozone since 2010 under the terms of the £175billion international rescue package.
Greek media have depicted Mrs Merkel and her finance ministers in Nazi uniforms. And the first act of new prime minister Mr Tsipras was to lay a wreath at the site where 200 Greek communists were shot by the Nazis.
Mr Tsipras told parliament – during a debate on Tuesday about the creation of a reparations committee – that he would not abandon Greece’s ‘irrevocable demands’ for compensation, and that his government would ‘work so that all of the unfulfilled obligations to Greece and the Greek people are met’.
Syriza, the most Left-wing government ever to be elected in Europe, ran for office on a platform of rejecting the austerity measures and spending their way out of crisis.
But it has since had to back down on a number of its pledges after being forced to agree further reforms in return for extending the bailout until June.
The German finance ministry said there would be no negotiation over the war-time debts.
Source – DailyMailUK