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Greek Debt, Nazi Reparations, and a Fair Shake

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With the Greek parliamentary elections only a few days away, incumbent politicians are clamoring for a foothold on victory once again. In a high profile vote recently, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the sitting parliament rekindled the old World War 2 reparations fires against a Germany Greeks blame for painful austerity measures imposed in return for bailout loans during its financial crisis. For the Greek people, the “German” issue could be the breakpoint whether or not the ruling Syriza party hangs on to power.

Germany’s Staggering Responsibility

By way of background on the Nazi reparations owed Greece, Hitler’s forces ravaged the southern European country savagely from the time of occupation in 1941 until the final garrisons surrendered in May and June of 1945, long after Berlin fell. Under the Nazi swastika, Greece’s Jewish population was almost eradicated, 80% of the country’s industry was destroyed, 25% of the natural resources were plundered, and over 11% of the population died because of Hitler’s occupation. The full list of atrocities, the reprisals, and whole villages wiped out, and the genocide practiced by the Nazi forces cannot be listed here. The level of barbarism is in reality, impossible to convey, even if you speak with one of the remaining eyewitnesses (as I have). In order that the Greek claim is understood properly, it’s necessary to grasp the German intentions during the occupation.

Forget for a moment that Greek politicians are bounding a political/economic football to get reelected. The debt the Germans truly owe is what the world should focus on here. Make no mistake, Hitler’s Axis war machine was not just holding territory for fascism’s further expansion. The Germans were intent on exterminating Hellenism altogether. The Jewish “solution” was not the only holocaust being perpetrated in WW 2. We’re talking about the so-called “Master Race,” after all. This document from the Hellenic Department of Reconstruction I found in the Stanford University archives discusses the Nazi plan to eliminate Hellenism once and for all.

Looking at the pure economic losses without the human or potential costs estimated, in today’s dollars the damage to Greece’s infrastructure alone was in the tens of billions. Take the roads the Germans destroyed as the pulled out of Greece in retreat. According to the Hellenic Department of Reconstruction report, the cost to repair the damaged roads alone back then exceeded 51 million dollars. That sum today is in excess of 711 million in 2018 dollars. This sum does not include the cost to replace the........

© New Eastern Outlook