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

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