Now that Greece has elected a new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, he’s announced his first order of business: receive the money owed to them from Germany in part of unpaid World War II reparations, reported The Washington Post.
Tsipras is part of the Greek left-wing Syriza party, and, according to the Post, the Syriza party has been “outspoken about the need for Germany to atone for its past in Greece.” In a move symbolic of that sentiment, Tsipras visited the Kaisariani rifle range to honor 200 Greek activists who were murdered by Nazi soldiers in 1944.
A two-year-old study estimated that Germany still owes Greece $200 billion “for damages incurred during the Nazi occupation” including the cost of rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. However, later studies have estimated a much higher amount. Another Greek reparation advocacy group estimated that Germany owes Greece $667 billion.
Some German public officials are actually on board with Greece getting their full reparations. “From a moral point of view, Germany ought to pay off these old compensations and the ‘war loan’ that they got during the Occupation,” said Gabriele Zimmer of the German socialist party Die Linke.
Nazi occupation led to the starvation of 300,000 during World War II, as well as other mass killings of Greek citizens during that time. For these atrocities and extensive damage done to the country’s infrastructure, Greek rightfully seeks out full repayment.
Greece’s economy has been in utter shambles, with the unemployment rate reaching as high as 27 percent. We realize that the Germany of today isn’t what it was during Hitler’s rule; the country sees the Nazi movement as a dark blemish on its history. But Germany did agree to a deal, and it must honor its deal.