Greek lawmakers say Germany owes reparations

Oct. 6, 2013 at 6:14 PM
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ATHENS, Greece, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Some Greek lawmakers say they want Germany, Greece's main banker, to pay reparations for Greeks killed during World War II.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' government has created an 80-page report on reparations it believes it is owed by Germany, which includes a huge, never-repaid loan Greece was forced to give Germany under Nazi occupation from 1941 to 1945, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Although the government has not given an official total owed, the figure most often discussed is $220 billion, which is about half of Greece's total debt.

Samaras said he has given the report over to Greece's Legal Council of State, which will decide whether to put together a legal case or handle settlement negotiations.

"I can see a situation where it is politically difficult for the Germans to ease the terms for us," said a high-ranking Greek official, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak on the issue. "So instead, they agree to pay back the occupation loan. Maybe it is easier to sell that to the German public."

Germany, which has been the biggest contributor to Greece's bailout package, has given little indication as to whether or not it is willing to discuss reparations.

"We must examine exactly what happened in Greece," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaubl said while in Athens in July, but added that Greece had waived its rights on the issue long ago.

Meanwhile, some Greeks say Germany still owes victims such as Giannis Syngelakis, whose father was killed by Nazis during a raid in 1943.

"Maybe some of us have not paid our taxes," Syngelakis said, standing at the site where his father was killed 70 years ago. "But that is nothing compared to what they did."

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