Category: Enforcement

Historic Parliament Resolution

By , April 18, 2019 12:12 pm

Ψηφίσθηκε από την Ολομέλεια του Κοινοβουλίου, με ευρύτατη πλειοψηφία, η πρόταση του προέδρου της Βουλής των Ελλήνων κ. Νικολάου Βούτση «για τη διεκδίκηση των γερμανικών οφειλών».

The Greek parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a motion which demands that Germany pay more than 300 billion euros in reparations for World War I and World War II.

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Murder Pays

By , April 12, 2019 5:04 pm

BERLIN (report by – Germany is still paying war victims’ pensions to Nazi collaborators abroad, while refusing any compensation to the numerous victims of the Nazis.

As was reported a few weeks ago, more than 2000 former Nazi collaborators, living in various European countries, are still receiving monthly state pensions of up to €1,275 from Germany. This has caused considerable anger. However, the administration offices in charge are willing to “examine” the cases of only four former members of the Waffen-SS living in the Netherlands.

The German state pays a monthly total of three-quarters of a million euros to former collaborators – whereas it is not in a position to pay a symbolic €2,500 as compensation to an 83-year-old man, who, had been abducted as a child from his parents in occupied Poland to be “Germanized” in Germany. Last week, a German court rejected his final appeal. The Nazis had abducted up to 200,000 children to the Reich.

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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

Legal versus Moral Responsibility

By , May 30, 2014 8:59 pm

by Costas Tzanos, PhD.

On his three day visit to Greece starting March 5, 2014, the German president Joachim Gauck visited the village of Ligiades, near the town of Ioannina, where German troops massacred 92 of its 96 residents in 1943, and the Ioannina synagogue where he met the only two surviving members of the Jewish community from 1944, Esthir Cohen and Janet Sevi.

Over 90 villages and towns suffered the same fate as Ligiades during the German occupation of Greece from 1941 to 1944. Over 1 700 villages were looted and burned, many of them to the ground, as reprisals for the Greek resistance. The whole country was plundered and starved. During WWII Greece lost 13% of its population mostly from starvation and German war crimes.

Around 60 000-65 000 Greek Jews were deported to Auschwitz, most of them from Thessaloniki and Ioannina. In September 1944, only 2 469 Greek Jews were still alive in Auschwitz.

On March 25, 1944, 1 725 men, women, and children from the Jewish community of Ioannina were piled on trucks for the journey to Auschwitz – among them 17-year-old Esthir and her family. Less than 50 survived, among them Esthir and her sister.

Germany, in addition to charging Greece exorbitant sums as occupation expenses, obtained forcibly from Greece a loan (occupation loan) of $ 3.5 billion. Hitler himself had recognized the legal character of this loan and had given orders to start the process of its repayment.

War reparations awarded at the Paris Conference of 1946 were deferred by the London Agreement of 1953 “until the final settlement of the problem of reparation.” Greece has demanded payment of the war reparations, awarded by the Paris Conference of 1946, as well as of the forced occupation loan, in 1945, 1946, 1947, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1987, and 1995. Germany has steadfastly refused payment. German officials make public statements like: “there is no legal base for Greece to claim reparations from Germany. The legal reasons are complex and I would not like to elaborate..”; “as Germans we always accepted our moral responsibility for what happened in Greece”; “the question of war reparations is no longer an issue” ; “this matter has been resolved long ago” .

In an interview to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini and on the question of WWII reparations, president Gauck said: “During World War II, Greece suffered an especially violent German occupation…. Greek Jews were systematically exterminated, and Greeks were shot, hanged, killed in a brutal manner, and many Greeks died of hunger. This … burdens us with a particular responsibility…I would not like to discuss the legal issue of reparations, but allow me to say this: We do not want to deny our moral responsibility nor relativize it… However, although many Germans are aware of the crimes in other countries, events in Greece escape them to a large degree. Education on … the persecution of Greeks is, in my opinion, the most important task in the immediate future.”

The president of Greece, Karolos Papoulias, raised the pending issue of war reparations and the repayment of the occupation loan with the visiting German president. In response, president Gauck acknowledged that Germany carried a “moral debt” for massacres committed by German soldiers in anti-guerrilla reprisals, but reiterated that Germany was not willing to discuss reparations. “I believe the legal way for it is closed,” he said.

It has been reported in the Greek press that president Papoulias responded to president Gauck that it was “a paradox” that Greeks are saddled with painful austerity measures and commitments while Germany refuses to discuss “responsibilities” arising from WWII. “Your position that ‘there is no issue’ is something that you claim. It cannot be unilaterally projected as a final conclusion.”

On the issue of reparations to Greece and on the repayment of the occupation loan, as president Gauck said, the Germans are accepting “moral responsibility” and their “moral debt”. What do “moral responsibility” and “moral debt” mean here?

Accepting moral responsibility, as opposed to legal responsibility, means acceptance of blame or praise for taking or failing to take a moral action while there was no legal obligation to take this action. “For example, one who encounters a car accident may be regarded as worthy of praise for having saved a child from inside the burning car, or alternatively, one may be regarded as worthy of blame for not having used one’s mobile phone to call for help.”(… )

The Germans are accepting the moral blame (moral responsibility) for the war crimes committed during WWII in Greece, for the destruction of the country, and for the loan that they forcibly extracted. But payment of the reparations and of the occupation loan is a legal obligation dictated by the Agreement of the Paris Conference of 1946 and the London Agreement of 1953, as well as by the contractual provisions of the forced loan. This is not a moral obligations that can be satisfied by acceptance of moral blame.

The London Agreement of 1953 dealt not only with the WWII reparations, but also with reparations due from WWI, which had been cancelled by Hitler. Germany made its last payment to American claimants of WWI reparations on October 3, 2010, nearly 92 years after the end of this war (… ).

In 2010, Greece signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that specifies in detail the criteria to be met for the release of bailout funds. Since then German officials are consistently reminding to the Greeks their obligations arising from the MoU, which as Peer Steinbrueck, the last Social Democratic Challenger of Angela Merkel, said has imposed on Greece a “deadly dose of austerity”( since 2009 Greece’s GDP has dropped by 27 percent and unemployment has grown to 28%).

One of the fundamental principles of justice is that of symmetry. As president Papoulias alluded to president Gauck, while Germany demands from Greece to fulfill its debt obligations, does not justice also require Germany to fulfill her legal obligations arising from the war reparations and the forced occupation loan?

Source: Posted in Daily Kos, April 22, 2014.

Wartime Reparations/Forced Loan Issue Remains Open

By , March 8, 2014 11:54 am

German president told wartime reparations/forced loan issue remains open

Karolos Papoulias in calls for talks to resolve outstanding wartime financial claims

German President Joachim Gauck (L) and President Karolos Papoulias - (Photo: AFP)

Updated At: 19:16 Thursday 6 March 2014
President Karolos Papoulias tells his German counterpart, Joachim Gauck, that Greece has never ‘ceded its claims’ over wartime reparations and the repayment of a forced loan from the Bank of Greece to Nazi Germany

Greece has never abandoned its claims for reparations for its occupation by Germany during the second world war or for the repayment of a forced wartime loan, President Karolos Papoulias has told his visiting German counterpart.

Speaking at a joint press conference following his meeting with Joachim Gauck at the presidential mansion, Papoulias said: “I raised the issue of German reparations and the occupation loan with President Gauck. I want to point out that Greece has never ceded its claims and it requests that talks to resolve the issue should commence at the earliest opportunity.”

In reply, Gauck, who is on a three-day visit, said that he could only express the official line of the German government on the matter.

“You know of course that I am a member of the federal government, and you know that I cannot offer any position other than the legal position taken by the German government. I cannot express another opinion. What I can do, however, and I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so today and tomorrow, when I will accompany you to your native city [in Ioannina] … is to find the right words to express Germany’s guilt for the people and the victims of that region.”

He added that he was honoured to be able to accompany Papoulias, who he described as “a fighter who fought against the barbaric invaders who inflicted so much suffering on the country”.

On Friday, the two heads of state will visit the village of Ligkiades outside Ioannina, the site of a massacre of 92 people by German troops on 3 October 1943, where the German president will lay a wreath.

He will also meet with representatives of Ioannina’s Jewish community. On 25 March 1944, the entire Jewish population, numbering 1,850 men, women and children, were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Only 163 would survive.

Before his meeting with Papoulias, Gauck mentioned that the aim of his visit was to demonstrate solidarity with an historic place. “I would like to confirm the long-standing friendship between the two countries, which may have be overshadowed by recent incidents and discussions, but it still remains strong,” he said.

“I would like to talk with people on a different modern Germany, as the ties beteen the two peoples have a long history. This history yesterday was confirmed at the Acropolis,” the German president said.

“I want you to know, when I was 15, in what was then a communist and dictatorial East Germany, I learnt ancient Greek.”

Source: Enet