Greek demands for World War Two reparations from Germany are adding to rising tensions between Athens and Berlin.
Greece’s justice minister says he is ready to implement a court ruling allowing for the seizure of German state-owned property to compensate victims of a Nazi massacre in a small Greek village.
Spokesman for the German Chancellor Steffen Seibert gsaid Athens should not be focusing on the past:
“We should concentrate on the present and current issues and hopefully a good future for both our countries.”
The Greek court ruling relates only to the Distomo bloodshed, when Nazi forces went on a two-hour rampage, butchering men, woman and children in what they said was retaliation for an attack on them by resistance forces.
While Berlin firmly believes the issue of war damages was settled long ago not every one agrees:
“If you accept, if you admit that Germany of today has a responsibility from the past, and this is because of the continuation of the state and all these kinds of of things, so Germany has to repair,” said Panteion University professor,Stelios Perakis
Resentment in Greece about Nazi atrocities runs deep and the families of victims have campaigned for reparations for decades. But Berlin accuses the new government in Athens of using the issue as a distraction from its current financial challenges.
With little apparent progress being made in Greece’s debt talks, Greek ministers have grown increasingly vocal in their criticism of Germany, angering many Germans already unhappy at having to pour billions of euros into the country’s original bailout.