The issue of compensation for WWII crimes “remains open” for Greeks, the country’s foreign minister said
Greece has not given up on the issue of German reparations for the crimes committed during World War II, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau in Warsaw, Dendias said that “for the Greek government and the Greek society, this issue remains open.”
“And its resolution, which is primarily a matter of principle, I think will be beneficial for all the countries involved and the EU as such,” the Greek minister said.
Dendias has raised the reparations issue on multiple occasions in the past. Last year, on the 77th anniversary of the Distomo massacre, in which members of the Waffen-SS killed 228 men, women and children in the Greek village, he said German compensation would “constitute a de facto apology for the crimes of the German occupation troops.”
The minister also returned to the point during his meeting with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in July. She said at the time that her country considers the legal issue closed but emphasized that Germany still feels responsibility for its Nazi past. Any reconciliation process may include investments into towns and villages affected by the German occupation and support for the Greek Jews, the German minister explained.
Under occupation by Nazi Germany, 300,000 Greek nationals were killed.
In 2019, a Greek parliamentary commission estimated the cost of the damage caused by Nazi Germany in Greece during World War II was €289 billion.
Greece has also claimed that Germany still owes it billions in World War I reparations.
The issue of German reparations has recently returned to the spotlight due to a move by the Polish government. On Monday, Polish Foreign Minister signed a formal note to Germany, officially demanding over $1.2 trillion in compensation for material and other damages and losses that Poland claims to have suffered at the hands of Nazi Germany between 1939 and 1945.
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