Category: WAR

26 Sourmeli St., Chania, Crete

By , November 10, 2017 9:22 pm

This street corner in Chania is a living monument of Nazi barbarity.
Photos by Yannis Ikonomou.
Click image to enlarge and read the text.

Germany’s Moral Obligations

By , June 2, 2017 4:13 pm

GERMANY HAS WELCHED ON ITS MORAL OBLIGATIONS BEFORE

President Trump and several of his administration’s officials have recently pointed out that Germany has been shirking its 2 percent of GDP defense budget target agreed to as recently as 2014. To be sure, Germany is not the only European nation which chooses to finance national defense on the cheap. Clearly, it is a great comfort to the Europeans that the United States watches their backs, while picking up the tab on roughly 22 percent of NATO’s expense budget.

As the largest economy on the continent, however, one might expect a less tightfisted commitment than the current 1.3 percent of GDP which Germany spends on defense. This is a puny sum indeed. In fact, on a per capita basis, Germany spends no more on defense than does the economic basket case that is Greece. Incidentally, as impoverished as the nation of Greece is, it is one of only four countries of the NATO alliance that does meet its 2 percent obligation.

The niggardly German defense budget has onerous security consequences: fewer than half of Germany’s fighter jets are able to fly their missions for lack of parts, and German soldiers are moved to hide their army’s lack of materiel by using broomsticks in lieu of non-existing heavy machine guns during war games. The German argument for its lack of financial commitment to NATO’s defense is as specious as it is creative. It goes something like this: national defense goes beyond military spending. Some types of development aid, the German government says, should count as defense spending. In a nutshell, this is a way of saying that the harboring of more than a million Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees is tantamount to protecting Europe’s borders!

DOES DEVELOPMENT AID INCLUDE WW II REPARATIONS?

It is curious that Germany’s apparent magnanimity does not extend to owning up to the disaster and carnage it caused with its aggressive militarism during the better part of the 20th century. Greece represents a tragic case in point.

During WW II, Greece lost more lives than the United States and the United Kingdom combined. Roughly, ten percent of the population of Greece – in excess of 500,000 souls – perished at the hands of the Butchers of Berlin largely through executions or the famine caused by the destruction of crop fields and animal stock. What is more, the Nazis looted Greek banks, took out sham loans, and confiscated all of the available gold, silver, nickel, and copper in the nation.

The Nazis destroyed houses, farms, public buildings, schools, hospitals, ports, canals, roads, train tracks, and bridges. Similarly, most Greek shipping and all telephone communications were destroyed. In addition, over 1,700 villages were burned to the ground many with the elderly, women, and children hunkered down in their infernal dwellings unable to escape. Beyond these atrocities, the Nazis appropriated much of Greece’s antiquities from a number of public and private museum collections as well as from archeological sites. German officers, and before them Italian soldiers of one stripe or another, had a field day boxing and crating antiquities which they then shipped back to their countries of origin. Antiquities which could not be carted off, were wantonly destroyed as to preclude any possible restoration.

The German devastation was so complete that Greece became devoid of the infrastructure, the institutions, and the systems, essential to properly function as a modern nation. In the aftermath of the war, Greece predictably descended into civil war, chaos, and more death. The de-Hellinization of the country was now complete.

WHO OWES WHAT TO WHOM?

It is clever double-dealing that Germany, in league with the Troika – the triumvirate of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank – dishes out a crippling dose of austerity and browbeats the small nation on the international stage to meet its loan commitments while it steadfastly refuses to acknowledge its own obligations. We have seen this movie before: Germany made its last payment to American claimants of WW I reparations in 2010.

In 2015, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dimitris Mardas, announced that Greece is owed roughly $305 billion according to calculations made by the country’s general accounting office. This is a sum that includes actual damages, interest, and inflation. This marks the first time the reparations claim has been formalized with such precision and it’s entirely credible. The Germans, of course, have scoffed at the notion that any monies are due inasmuch as there is no strict legal basis on which Greece can press its claim.

The key, however, is whether the Holocaust visited on the Greeks by its Nazi occupiers hinges on legal niceties or on the moral and ethical behaviors expected of civilized nations. Ironically, Germany was the principal beneficiary of moral largesse as approximately two-thirds of its war indebtedness, much of it provided by the Marshall Plan, was forgiven. If ever you wondered what explains the German economic “miracle” in the aftermath of the war this is a good place to start looking.

President Trump and his administration should not fall prey to Germany’s dilatory approach to meeting its financial commitments to NATO. If the Germans are not concerned about staring down the barrel of a Russian tank the United States should not be either.

Raul Pupo - Author (source)

WWII German Reparations – Damages & Thefts of Antiquities

By , August 29, 2016 9:32 am

Thanks to many HEC volunteers, the manuscript you will see by clicking on the link below, it documents eyewitness accounts of the damage, destruction, theft, illegal excavation, seizure, exportation, and depredation of antiquities by the WWII occupied forces from locations all over Greece.

This documentation effort was commenced at the command of the Ministry on 15 February 1943.

The full document was retyped, translated and archived in modern media form by the HEC volunteers.
View the document and get your personal copy.

Thank you.

The Math of Mass Starvation and Murder

By , June 19, 2014 7:51 am

Sign the Petition

The Math of Mass Starvation and Murder: Germany in Greece During World War II

By Evaggelos Vallianatos

The German occupation of Europe in the 1940s was brutal. Millions of people died. Europe was devastated. However, no European country suffered as much as Greece.

The Greeks were the first Europeans who won a victory against fascism. They defeated the Italian allies of the Germans. They fought bravely against the attacking Germans and kept fighting them throughout the occupation of their country, 1941-1944.

Once in Greece, the Germans rewarded Greek bravery with implacable hostility. They dismembered the country, dividing it between the Bulgarians, the avenging Italians, and themselves.

The unspoken strategy of the occupiers (Germans, Italians, Bulgarians) was to wipe out the Greeks through starvation, bombing, and mass murder. They did that, inflicting unspeakable atrocities against the civilian population. But the Germans, being the warlords-in-chief, outdistanced their partners in crime, Bulgarians and Italians. Their barbarism easily surpassed that of all previous foreign occupiers of Greece.

In the short period of German occupation, 1941-1944, the violence of the German-led armies of conquest, turned Greece from a modestly well-to-do country to a country on the brink of death.

The following math of mass starvation and murder tell the story. The numbers come from “The Sacrifices of Greece in the Second World War,” a 1946 report prepared for the Greek government by the architect K. A. Doxiadis. In 2014, the Athenian daily, Kathimerini, reprinted this valuable and lavishly illustrated two-volume study in commemoration of the sacrifices Greeks made during WWII.

The story of WWII Greece starts with food, the weapon of starvation for the occupiers. During 1941-1944, there was a dramatic decline in Greek food production: wheat and barley, life and death crops for the Greeks, dropped by 40 percent; beans, 36 percent; tobacco, 89 percent; cotton, 75 percent; olive oil, 16 percent; grapes and raisins, 66 percent; wine, 50 percent; fruits, 20 percent.

The occupiers speeded Greek starvation by killing the peasants’ farm animals. They slaughtered 60 percent of the horses, mules, and cattle; 50 percent of the donkeys, sheep and goats; 80 percent of the hogs; and 50 percent of the chickens.

Next after food, the entire country became a field of desolation for the Germans, Italians and Bulgarians. They destroyed 25 percent of the country’s forests; 56 percent of the roads; 50 to 90 percent of the bridges; 65 percent of automobiles; 60 percent of the trucks; 80 percent of the buses; 100 percent of the trains and railways; 80 percent of the factories; 100 percent of the water and sewage infrastructure.

The 1946 report says: “principal harbors were blown up… Installations, machinery and quays were destroyed.” The Germans also blew up the strategic Corinth canal. In addition, the Germans sank 74 percent of the Greek ships and destroyed 100 percent of telephone communications.

The Germans bombed all major Greek cities, inflicting heavy damage. According to the 1946 study: “The whole country lies in ruins. From northern Epirus to the Dodecanese large and small buildings, churches, schools, hospitals and dwellings have been transformed into a mass of tragic ruins.”

The countryside had a similar fate. According to the 1946 study, “the occupying forces applied a systematic plan for the destruction of Hellenism: the burning of villages. 1,770 Greek villages lie in ashes. In certain parts of the country, particularly near the frontiers, destruction by fire reached the proportion of 90 % of the villages of every region.”

The Germans and their allies killed or were responsible for the death of thirteen percent of the Greek population. In 1940, there were 7,335,000 people in Greece. In 1944, the population numbered 6,805,000 persons. The report notes that the favorable methods of mass murder included: “Hangings, massacres, shootings, [and] death vans.”

The genocidal effects of German occupation of Greece reached a macabre climax in June 1944. On June 10, 1944, Greek partisans killed a few German soldiers near Distomo, a small village near Parnassus and Delphi. The Germans retaliated with crusading ferocity.

Hundreds of soldiers advanced toward Distomo – spreading death on their way, shooting people and animals. Once in the village, the Germans acted with a mania for death and criminality rarely matched in history. They kept shooting anyone on sight. But eventually, they put the annihilation of Distomo into action. They raped all female children and women, cutting their breasts and ripping apart their stomachs. In some cases, they strangled the women with their own guts. They cut the throats of all infants.

The Germans then shot or hanged all boys and men. In fact, they used bayonets to crucify men on trees lining the streets. All this mayhem took the Germans an entire day. The next day, they came back to Distomo and filled their trucks with looted goods from the homes of the dead peasants.

A Swedish Red Cross worker stationed in Athens, Sture Linner, witnessed the results of the German atrocity. In his book, My Odyssey, he admits he drove a truck full of food to Distomo. It was June 14, 1944. He entered a village in flames, empty of life, utterly destroyed. The picture could have matched Dante’s inferno.

Linner visited Distomo in November 1944 when the Germans were withdrawing from Greece. Greek partisans surrounded a detachment of German soldiers near Distomo. Linner drove a truck full of food. A priest and a Greek military commander met him near the village. The priest said both Greeks and Germans were starving. But he urged Linner to feed the defeated Germans because they had a long way to reach home.

Linner’s Greek wife burst into tears.

This article is a Truthout original.

Evaggelos Vallianatos is the author of several books, including “Poison Spring,” forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press.

Source: trouthout

Letter to Members of German Parliament

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By , June 9, 2014 1:01 pm

Letter sent to the members of the German Parliament. View in: German | English | Greek