The issue of the outstanding war debt owed to Greece by Germany will not go away, having gained ground in recent years as Eurocrats dominated by Germany, force ever increasing austerity on the Greek populace. Now a cross party group of 28 Greek MP's has tabled a proposal for the issue of German war reparations to be discussed in Parliament.
The Athens News
reported that the MP's have stressed that Germany owes Greece a debt of 54 billion euros before interest (70 billion with interest). They are calling for the issue to be raised as a national issue as Greece was the only country to which Germany failed to pay war reparations.
The issue of war reparations is one which is widely discussed amongst the Greek population who are increasingly resentful of criticism from Germany, which came to the fore when Germany proposed that Greece hand over budgetary sovereignty to the EU. In an article in German paper Der Spiegel
in June 2011, eminent historian Albrecht Ritschl, a professor at the London School of Economics, criticized Germany for their hostility towards Greece in the current economic. He pointed out that Germany's debt default in the 1930s makes the Greek debt look insignificant in comparison.
Keep Talking Greece
lists the debt owed to Greece in this lengthy quote which summarizes the issue fully:
"According to estimated figures compiled by "National Council for the Claim of German Debts, led by the Resistance hero Manolis Glezos, the debt now exceeds, in present value, 162 billion euros plus interest." This contrasts with other sources who put the figure at 70 billion. The Athens News cites the unpaid debt as resulting from:
The obligation to pay compensation for the loss mainly of vessels (due to bombing, torpedoing, sinking or captivity) during the period of Greek neutrality, before the Italy's and Germany's invasions. The forced "occupation loan." The $3.5 billion loan now stands at $25 billion with inflation and interest payments taken into account.
The reparations acknowledged by the Paris Peace Conference (1946) to be paid by Germany for damage caused to the Greek economy
The payment of compensation to the victims of the atrocities perpetuated by the German occupation army. The victims are 1,125,960 people. (38,960 executed, 12,000 dead from stray bullets, 70,000 killed in the battle field, 105,000 dead in concentration camps in Germany, 600,000 deaths from starvation).
Greek archaeological treasures stolen by Nazi Germany."
Ritschl accurately predicted that continued anti-Greek sentiment in the German media would inevitably push the issue of war reparations back onto the center stage. The Greek government, which is usually reserved on the subject, may now be forced to address the issue.
A ruling by the UN court
last week decreed that no individual may now sue a nation over war reparations, but this leaves the way open for the Greek nation to demand action for the long overdue payment relating to Nazi atrocities.