Germany faces paying billions to Greece in compensation for Nazi wartime atrocities

May 1941: A policeman directs German motorcycle troops in Athens

Germany should pay reparations to Greece for ‘serious wrongs’ by the Nazis, members of Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition said last night.

The German Chancellor has angrily rejected demands from Greek ministers for Berlin to pay £240billion in compensation for Nazi atrocities during the Second World War.

But, in an astonishing twist, senior members of the SPD, which shares power with Mrs Merkel, yesterday disagreed.

Gesine Schwan said: ‘I think it would be good for us Germans to sweep up after ourselves in terms of our history. It is about recognising that we have committed serious wrongs in Greece.

‘The government’s legal case isn’t convincing. It leaves a bad impression that Germany doesn’t want to face up to its responsibilities’…

This could set off a veritable torrent of groups claiming reparations.  It could make it forever impossible for Turkey to admit any guilt over the Armenians, for example.   It could backfire very badly.