While the politicians wrangle over WWII reparations for damages wrought by the Nazis, one German couple holidaying in Greece paid up.
German Couple Paid Greece $935 War Reparations
CNBC – Holly Ellyatt
A German couple holidaying in Greece have done their bit for tense diplomatic relations between the two countries, giving 875 euros ($935) in what they said were World War II reparations, according to media reports.
The couple, named as Ludwig Zacaro and Nina Lahge in local media reports, are said to have visited the Greek seaport town of Nafplion and asked to meet the town’s mayor.
“They came to my office yesterday morning, saying they wanted to make up for their government’s attitude,” Dimitri Kostourou, the mayor of Nafplion, told AFP news agency.
“They made their calculations and said each German owed 875 euros for what Greece had to pay during World War II.”
He added that they chose his town “because it was the first capital of Greece in the 19th century.”
Greek news website News247.gr said the couple made their calculations based on the amount that Greece was forced to pay Germany during the war.
German Couple Pays Greece War Reparations
The Guardian – Agence France Presse
A German couple visiting Greece walked into a town hall and handed over €875 (£630) in what they said were second world war reparations.
Dimitris Kotsouros, the mayor of Nafplio, a seaport in the Peloponnese, said: “They came to my office yesterday morning, saying they wanted to make up for their government’s attitude. They made their calculations and said each German owed €875 for what Greece had to pay during world war two.”
The mayor of the historic town where the tourists deposited their cheque said the money had since been donated to a local charity. The couple chose his town “because it was the first capital of Greece in the 19th century”, he added.
Greek media reports named the pair as Ludwig Zacaro and Nina Lahge. They say Zacaro is retired and Lahge works a 30-hour week. They did not have enough money to pay for two, one paper said.
Athens is struggling under a debt mountain that amounts to about 175% of the country’s annual economic output. The country has long claimed that Germany owes it payment for a forced wartime loan and other reparations, and the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, recently said Greece had a “moral obligation” to claim payment.
Several senior Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens in Germany have also said their nation should consider paying reparations. But Germany’s economy minister last week rejected the calls. “The likelihood is zero,” said Sigmar Gabriel.
Nearly 70 years have passed since the end of the war during which the Nazis occupied Greece for four years and forced the Greek central bank to give the Third Reich a loan that financially ruined the country.
Germany, Greece Pointing Fingers
This week marked a nadir in relations between Greece and its largest creditor. The tone has been deteriorating ever since January when Alexis Tsipras, leader of the far-left Syriza party, took over as Greek prime minister. It is clear that Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, and Mr Varoufakis no longer trust each other as partners in negotiations to extend Greece’s bail-out. When Mr Schäuble called his counterpart “foolishly naive”, Greece’s ambassador in Berlin filed a diplomatic protest.
Greece’s defence minister has threatened to let masses of Syrian refugees, possibly including terrorists, pass through to Germany. Europe has only itself to blame if that happens, he said. The Greek justice minister suggested that, as part of his country’s ongoing claims against its old oppressor, he might even seize the Athens property of the Goethe Institute, Germany’s cultural agency.
Arguments over a tactless hand gesture might be called a childish spat. But historically based threats to seize German assets carry a heavier payload because they recall some dark spectres that have never ceased to haunt both countries.
Between 1941 and 1944 the Nazis occupied Greece with a brutality exceeded only in Slavic countries. Greece has never formally dropped claims on Germany which date from that time. Now, in the midst of a debate about recently incurred Greek debts, the government in Athens suddenly wants Germany to settle some much older obligations, both financial and moral, as well.Source: The National Herald