German soldiers march into Athens in 1941 (Photo credit: CC-BY-SA Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-164-0357-29A / Rauch)
BERLIN (AFP) — As Berlin and Athens lock horns over debt relief, Greece’s claim that Germany has never compensated it for all the damage wrought by the Nazis during World War II is again straining ties.
Greece’s new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose radical left party swept to power last month promising to reverse spending cuts imposed under the indebted country’s rescue package, has vowed to tackle the long-simmering dispute.
But he is likely to run up against a firm “no” from Europe’s biggest economy, which argues that Berlin does not owe it a cent and that the historic issue has long been closed.
“Nearly 70 years after the end of World War II, the question of reparations has lost legitimacy,” a German finance ministry spokesman said recently.
The issue of wartime reparation claims over Germany’s four-year occupation of Greece, which ruined the country financially and left thousands dead, has complicated relations between Athens and Berlin for decades…
…Greece’s occupation by the Nazis from 1941 was one of the most bloody in Europe, with Hitler’s forces rampaging, pillaging and shooting, and encountering a nation that fiercely resisted…