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Germany’s STERN and Tagesspiegel: Germany Owes Greece Billions of Euros from WWII (Greek Citizenry, Political Parties Agree)

Aus­ter­i­ty advo­cates inspect­ing Greek assets

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s pro­pa­ganda chief, once said: ‘In 50 years’ time nobody will think of nation states.’

COMMENT: As a grow­ing cho­rus (includ­ing the IMF) protests Euro­pean melt-down in the Ger­man-made eco­nom­ic cre­ma­to­ri­um, the impor­tant, bad­ly over­looked issue of World War II debt is com­ing to the fore.

Eighty per­cent of Greek cit­i­zens respond­ing to a poll and a rare and unan­i­mous agree­ment among their elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives favor oblig­ing Ger­many to reim­burse that coun­try for the dev­as­ta­tion wrought by occu­pa­tion forces dur­ing World War II.

A num­ber of Ger­man media out­lets have sup­ple­ment­ed the calls for resti­tu­tion for the dam­age done by the Third Reich.

STERN (one of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic’s best-known pub­li­ca­tions) has writ­ten that Greece is owed 300-bil­lion Euros as repa­ra­tions owed for the Sec­ond World War. Tagesspiegel has blast­ed Ger­man finance min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schauble’s cav­a­lier dis­missal of the Greek claims.

As we have said, analy­sis of the Euro­zone cri­sis is impos­si­ble with­out under­stand­ing and analy­sis of the geo-pol­i­tics and macro­eco­nom­ics under­ly­ing the Sec­ond World War and the rise of fas­cism, the Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal pro­gram and result­ing eco­nom­ic pow­er­house, in par­tic­u­lar.

Ger­many’s present Euro­pean dom­i­nance results from a pre­con­ceived, transna­tion­al klep­toc­ra­cy real­ized with the con­nivance of the Third Reich’s pow­er­ful West­ern cor­po­rate allies and mas­ter­ful manip­u­la­tion of the realpoli­tik of the Cold War.

As we have seen, Ger­many has not reached its posi­tion because of the supe­ri­or­i­ty of its finan­cial sys­tem. Ger­man banks were deeply com­plic­it in the machi­na­tions lead­ing to the 2008 eco­nom­ic col­lapse. In FTR #746, we syn­op­sized Ger­man plans for glob­al dom­i­na­tion, using an eco­nom­ic tem­plate forged by Friedrich List in the 19th cen­tu­ry and real­ized by the Third Reich dur­ing, and after World War II.

From Ger­many Watch (which, along with Ger­man For­eign Policy.com feeds along the low­er right of the front page of this web­site) comes a detailed analy­sis of the decades-long maneu­ver­ing through which the Third Reich’s plun­der has been retained and insti­tu­tion­al­ized as the mytho­log­i­cal “eco­nom­ic mir­a­cle” of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic.

This analy­sis is detailed and rel­a­tive­ly tor­tu­ous. The machi­na­tions doc­u­ment­ed in the links are not meant to be transparent–they are pur­pose­ful­ly opaque, for the pur­pose of obscur­ing the nature of the his­tor­i­cal record and, as a result, the present politico/economic land­scape. 

Be sure to take time to exam­ine the doc­u­men­ta­tion.

“Ger­many’s STERN — Ger­many Owes Greece 300 Bil­lion Euros from WWII” by Hel­las Frappe; hellasfrappe.blogspot.uk; 9/27/2012.

EXCERPT: The week­ly Ger­man “Stern” mag­a­zine this week ded­i­cat­ed one of its columns to the issue of Ger­man war repa­ra­tions to Greece, while it also at the same time notes that Berlin has only giv­en Greece 37 mil­lion Euros to save the almighty Euro. The arti­cle said reveals that Greeks wish Ger­many would final­ly pay the war repa­ra­tions because it believes Berlin owes much to the coun­try for the dam­ages and atroc­i­ties it caused dur­ing World War II.

The issue of war repa­ra­tions appears reg­u­lar­ly in Greek news­pa­pers, claims the arti­cle, but notes that no such dis­cus­sion (or claim) has been raised by both Athens and Berlin. The mag­a­zine also blast­ed the deci­sion by the Ger­man gov­ern­ment which said two weeks ago that the issue of war repa­ra­tions to Greece has lost its mean­ing. A spokesman for the Ger­man Min­istry of For­eign Affairs said that “the fed­er­a­tion of Ger­man believes that after many decades, the issue of war repa­ra­tions has lost its mean­ing.” The state­ment was made of course after Athens estab­lished a work­ing group in order to study old doc­u­ments and esti­mate the exact amount of the repa­ra­tions.

“The fact is, the Greeks are among the nations that suf­fered the most under Nazi occu­pa­tion. Their will to resist was fatal. First up was a leg­endary telegram that the Athens dic­ta­tor Gen­er­al Metaxas sent in Octo­ber 1940 to Fas­cist Italy — in response to Mus­solin­i’s ulti­ma­tum to sur­ren­der. It con­tained the plain text “ochi” (no), which is why the Greeks cel­e­brate to this day every Octo­ber to “Ochi Day”. Short­ly there­after, the Ital­ians attacked Greece and although numer­i­cal­ly more supe­ri­or, were total­ly pushed back behind the Alban­ian bor­der.

Then Hitler sent his troops and was also met with mas­sive oppo­si­tion. When the Nazis final­ly tri­umphed, they set up a bru­tal occu­pa­tion regime in order to show the world what can hap­pen when small coun­tries do not sub­mit. In Crete, which was par­tic­u­lar­ly com­pet­i­tive, an order was giv­en that said that for every fall­en Wehrma­cht sol­dier, ten Cre­tans should die. (As a result) 30 island vil­lages were destroyed. On the over­all, more than 80,000 Greeks. or 7.2 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion died between 1941–1944.”

The arti­cle then speaks about the “inter­est-free loan” to Hitler.

The fas­cists, claims the same arti­cle, attacked, pil­laged and destroyed Greece’s indus­tri­al pro­duc­tion equip­ment, crops, etc. Hitler, it adds, even forced the Nation­al Bank of Greece, to lend Ger­many inter­est-free mon­ey. The total amount “of these gov­ern­ment bonds totaled 476 mil­lion Reichs­marks, which today cor­re­sponds to ten bil­lion euros.”

The sub­ject of war repa­ra­tions was first nego­ti­at­ed in the autumn of 1945 in Paris. At the time, adds the same arti­cle, Greece was ask­ing for ten bil­lion US dol­lars, which was viewed by all con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants to be a lit­tle over exag­ger­at­ed, espe­cial­ly the US, so Greece was appar­ent­ly award­ed with 30,000 tons of Ger­man indus­tri­al goods with an esti­mat­ed val­ue of approx­i­mate­ly US $25 mil­lion (or two bil­lion euros at today’s rates). But, the same arti­cle writes “these prod­ucts have nev­er made it to Greece.” . . .

“Tagesspiegel Says Nazis Destroyed Greece” by Maria Korol­o­gou; Greek Reporter [Europe]; 4/11/2013.

EXCERPT: The clas­si­cal lib­er­al Ger­man news­pa­per Tagesspiegel, crit­i­ciz­ing Germany’s refusal to pay more war repa­ra­tions to Greece for World War II, said the Nazis did more dam­age there than in any oth­er coun­try.

Tagesspiegel cat­a­logued the hor­ror and suf­fer­ing that Hitler’s forces brought to Greece: “130,000 civil­ians, women and chil­dren, were exe­cut­ed in retal­i­a­tion for rebel attacks. 70,000 Jews were tak­en to con­cen­tra­tion camps, 300,000 suf­fered frost­bite and hunger, because the Ger­mans con­fis­cat­ed food and fuel. Fifty per­cent of the country’s infra­struc­ture and 75% of indus­try were destroyed”. . . .

. . . . The paper said that if Ger­many paid Greece what it is alleged to owe, it would dra­mat­i­cal­ly improve Greece’s like­li­hood of over­com­ing its crush­ing eco­nom­ic cri­sis.

“The Greek gov­ern­ment appears to push­es the issue away. After the con­clu­sion of a group of experts on the top­ic, the Greek Min­istry of For­eign Affairs will ask the opin­ion of the state’s law offi­cials, in order for the deci­sion to be post­poned in every way,” it added.

“It’s A Mir­a­cle — Greek Par­lia­ment Unan­i­mous­ly Agrees — Greece Must Ask Ger­many To Pay War Repa­ra­tions” by Hel­las Frappe; hellasfrappeblogspot.gr;   4/12/2013.

EXCERPT: For the first time in decades every sin­gle par­ty in the Greek par­lia­ment is in unan­i­mous agree­ment. Greece needs to for­mal­ly ask Ger­many to pay back the mon­ey owed from the Sec­ond World War. This includes the war repa­ra­tions as well as a forced occu­pa­tion loan. A provoca­tive state­ment made by Ger­man Finance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble on Thurs­day not­ing that Greece should avoid the issue of war repa­ra­tions and rather con­cen­trate on reforms only ignit­ed the flame which is now grow­ing into a fire.

Schaeu­ble was refer­ring to a top-secret report com­piled at the behest of the Finance Min­istry in Athens. Leaked by To Vima news­pa­per on Sun­day, the report sug­gest­ed that Ger­many owes Greece 162 bil­lion euros in World War II repa­ra­tions.

In essence, the polit­i­cal par­ties are urg­ing the gov­ern­ment to take the nec­es­sary legal steps to claim the 162 bil­lion Euros (with­out the inter­est), that are due to Greece as a result of Nazi occu­pa­tion and a forced war loan. (The 108 bil­lion for Greece’s infra­struc­ture and 54 bil­lion for the forced loan).

Respond­ing to Schaeuble’s state­ments, For­eign Min­is­ter Dim­itris Avramopou­los said that the reforms being car­ried out in Greece bear no rela­tion – and can bear no rela­tion – to the issue of Ger­man repa­ra­tions, adding that the Greek state has been rais­ing the issue for many years.
“Whether this case has been resolved or not is deter­mined by inter­na­tion­al jus­tice, giv­en that, by its nature, this issue con­cerns inter­na­tion­al law and the inter­na­tion­al jus­tice organs,” Avramopou­los said.

“Greece is not ‘los­ing its focus’ on the reform pol­i­cy, despite the great sac­ri­fices the Greek peo­ple are shoul­der­ing,” he added.

In com­ments made to Ger­many’s Neue Osnabruck­er Zeitung news­pa­per, Schaeu­ble said the issue of war com­pen­sa­tions has already been “set­tled.”

Mean­while, the Ger­man Tagesspiegel news­pa­per, slammed the Berlin gov­ern­men­t’s stance on the issue not­ing that the Nazis did more dam­age in Greece than in any oth­er coun­try they occu­pied. The news­pa­per said that Hitler’s forces were respon­si­ble for the death of many men, women and chil­dren.

Specif­i­cal­ly it said 70,000 Jews were tak­en to con­cen­tra­tion camps, 300,000 suf­fered frost­bite and hunger because the Ger­man forces con­fis­cat­ed all food and fuel, 50 per­cent of Greece’s infra­struc­ture and 75 per­cent of the coun­try’s indus­try were total­ly destroyed.

The issue of war repa­ra­tions has been a con­tentious and legal­ly com­pli­cat­ed one for decades. Nazi Ger­many, which occu­pied Greece from 1941–44, forced Athens to extend it loans and give up gold reserves. There was also the ques­tion of the destruc­tion of infra­struc­ture and com­pen­sa­tion claims filed by indi­vid­u­als who sur­vived Nazi atroc­i­ties. As a result, Greece suf­fered great­ly and unlike every oth­er coun­try Ger­many went to war with, only Greece has nev­er been paid com­pen­sa­tion.

Cam­paign­ers say the Paris Repa­ra­tions Agree­ment of 1946 oblig­es Ger­many to pay Greece around bil­lions of Euro.

There has long been a vocif­er­ous lob­by call­ing for war repa­ra­tions from Ger­many, with the so-called “Nation­al Coun­cil” call­ing for more than 500 bil­lion Euros in war repa­ra­tions (with inter­ests), as well as the forced loan (with inter­est), but also for oth­er com­modi­ties such as stolen art work and the loss of 50pc of eco­nom­ic out­put over almost four years. . . .

“Most Greeks Want Gov­ern­ment to Pur­sue Ger­many for War Repa­ra­tions” by Kate­ri­na Niko­las; Dig­i­tal Jour­nal; 4/17/2013.

EXCERPT: Eight out of 10 Greeks believe the gov­ern­ment should pur­sue Ger­many over war repa­ra­tions, fol­low­ing a clas­si­fied report by the Greek Finance Min­istry indi­cat­ing the debt stands at €162 bil­lion.

Ekathimeri­ni report­ed almost 90 per­cent of Greeks con­sid­er dam­ages should be sought. Last week Dig­i­tal Jour­nal report­ed leaked details of the clas­si­fied report com­mis­sioned by the Greek gov­ern­ment con­clud­ed “the out­stand­ing debt is com­prised of €108 bil­lion for dam­age to infra­struc­ture and €54 bil­lion for the forced loans demand­ed by the Nazis.”

Ger­man Finance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble respond­ed to the issue of war repa­ra­tions by dis­miss­ing the issue as already set­tled, say­ing: “I deem that such state­ments are irre­spon­si­ble. Instead of mis­lead­ing the peo­ple in Greece it would be bet­ter to show them the road to reforms.”

His words drew a strong response from Greek For­eign Min­is­ter Dim­itris Avramopou­los who stat­ed: “The reforms being car­ried out in Greece bear no rela­tion – and can bear no rela­tion – to the issue of Ger­man repa­ra­tions. Whether this case has been resolved or not is deter­mined by inter­na­tion­al jus­tice, giv­en that, by its nature, this issue con­cerns inter­na­tion­al law and the inter­na­tion­al jus­tice organs.”

Accord­ing to Hel­las Frappe (which out­lines the details of the repa­ra­tions due) every sin­gle par­ty in the Greek Par­lia­ment is in unan­i­mous agree­ment that Greece should ask Ger­many to pay back the mon­ey owed.

DW [Deutsche Welle] reports Ger­man his­to­ri­an Hagen Fleis­ch­er argues the issue is not set­tled but believes Greece should focus on the forced occu­pa­tion loan, esti­mat­ed to be €7 bil­lion with­out inter­est. Fleis­ch­er says that whilst Ger­many will not allow Greece to set a prece­dent over repa­ra­tion demands, the loan should be pur­sued. . . .

“Ger­many Defaults–and Lies about It;” Ger­many Watch; 4/17/2013. 

EXCERPT: . . . . It start­ed in the 1920’s when Ger­many issued series of bear­er bonds in the USA for revi­tal­i­sa­tion of its econ­o­my fol­low­ing the dev­as­tat­ing effects of WWI. Act­ing as trustees, finan­cial insti­tu­tions such as JP Mor­gan and Lee Hig­gins & Co. pro­duced and sold bonds in Amer­i­ca rais­ing funds that would be invest­ed in Ger­many.

These bonds cor­re­spond­ed to Agri­cul­tur­al Loans signed by 14 Ger­man banks and guar­an­teed by the Ger­man gov­ern­ment. Of these 14 banks four are still active and are part of the troi­ka mech­a­nism.

From 1933, Ger­many default­ed on inter­est repay­ments to Bond­hold­ers, as the new Nazi lead­er­ship con­sid­ered the debt that Ger­many faced fol­low­ing WWI as ille­gal and issued a mora­to­ri­um on bonds owed to for­eign investors.

In 1953 fol­low­ing years of Ger­man debt cri­sis, the Lon­don Debt Agree­ment restruc­tured Germany’s debt to be sus­tain­able by the agree­ment of its cred­i­tors.

The way this deal would func­tion was to pro­vide the option to the bond­hold­ers of Ger­man debt, to either accept the repay­ment terms of the LDA, or to forego attempts to claim their debt until 1993. The ratio­nale being, that you can cash in today from a weak Ger­many, or wait for a full set­tle­ment after 40 years of Ger­man growth and devel­op­ment.

Assent­ing Bond­hold­ers: For bond­hold­ers who want­ed to cash in their bonds imme­di­ate­ly, they could receive par­tial pay­ment, and new bonds, with a dis­count on the val­ue of their bonds (depend­ing on the issue, between 20% — 60%). For this to be imple­ment­ed cor­rect­ly, a pro­ce­dure of Val­i­da­tion was set up to ensure that any­one pre­sent­ing bonds for pay­ment, could prove that they were indeed the ben­e­fi­cial own­er. This would guar­an­tee that all of the dis­burse­ments paid went direct­ly to Germany’s cred­i­tors in the cor­rect manor.

Non Assent­ing Bond­hold­ers: For bond­hold­ers who chose to wait for full set­tle­ment by their next gen­er­a­tion in the future, their course of action was to main­tain the debt instru­ments (the bonds) safe­ly, and not request a set­tle­ment until the 40-year grace peri­od had expired.

Val­i­da­tion boards were estab­lished in the three US states (where the bonds were ini­tial­ly sold) to car­ry out the com­pli­ance require­ments for the bond­hold­ers who chose to accept the option pre­sent­ed in the LDA. Hav­ing per­formed their role, these boards were sub­se­quent­ly closed a few years lat­er.

By 1993 the Ger­man gov­ern­ment had suc­ceed­ed in revi­tal­is­ing its econ­o­my and began to respond to requests for pay­ment. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, they chose not to hon­our their debt. To the sur­prise of many bond­hold­ers, Ger­many would receive pay­ment appli­ca­tions with the phys­i­cal bonds attached, per­fo­rate the bonds, and stamp them as invalid.

The rea­sons giv­en by the Ger­man Gov­ern­ment and its sub­sidiary bod­ies are: Ger­many has com­piled a list of Bond ser­i­al num­bers that Ger­many con­sid­ers stolen, and hence invalid. The pro­ce­dure of val­i­da­tion must be com­plied with.

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment claims that dur­ing WWII Russ­ian sol­diers loot­ed the Reichs­bank vault, where many bonds were kept, and that these bonds were rein­tro­duced into the mar­ket for pay­ment. The sim­ple prob­lem with this claim is that the only bonds that were in the Ger­man vault, had already been paid off or pledged, for which there is a pub­lic record, and no active bond­hold­ers had their bonds phys­i­cal­ly in Ger­many. Fur­ther­more, the build­ing which housed the Reichs­bank had been com­plete­ly destroyed, the con­tents of which had been removed by Ger­many before the arrival of Russ­ian sol­diers to Berlin.

The bonds were “bear­er” instru­ments, and bond­hold­ers would cut off the coupons from the papers for their inter­est repay­ments. This claim how­ev­er, was accept­able in the few years imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the war, as it was obvi­ous bond­hold­ers would not be able to recov­er their prin­ci­pal or inter­est at the time, and was the rea­sons for the Val­i­da­tion Pro­ce­dure out­lined in the Lon­don Debt Agree­ments.

The so-called ‘Val­i­da­tion Pro­ce­dure’ which was intend­ed to apply to bonds that would be sub­mit­ted for pay­ment in 1953 added addi­tion­al secu­ri­ty require­ments for the bond­hold­er to com­ply with. Not only was it clear in the leg­is­la­tion that this only applied to Assent­ing Bond­hold­ers in 1953, sub­se­quent­ly indi­cat­ed by the clo­sure of the Val­i­da­tion boards, but it would be sim­ply impos­si­ble for any bond­hold­er to com­ply with them 40 years lat­er.

When bond­hold­ers and cred­i­tors have asked to see this list, the Ger­man gov­ern­ment cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly denied access, stat­ing that it is not in their nation­al inter­est, and has clas­si­fied this list as a “nation­al secret”.

What fol­lowed was a series of law­suits in the US where Ger­man legal defence has nev­er denied the lia­bil­i­ty for its debt, but has sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly used tech­ni­cal issues and delayed court cas­es, to the point that many bond­hold­ers have paid mil­lions more in legal expens­es. Many of these claims con­tin­ue today, by some of the sur­viv­ing bond­hold­ers, and the acquir­ers of that debt, and will be mak­ing appeals to the Euro­pean Courts in the near future.

There is no ques­tion in the minds of the many experts in bank­ing and law, with sub­stan­tial knowl­edge of inter­na­tion­al finan­cial instru­ments, that these bonds rep­re­sent unpaid debt of the Ger­man gov­ern­ment and its sub­sidiary bod­ies. . . .

 

Discussion

4 comments for “Germany’s STERN and Tagesspiegel: Germany Owes Greece Billions of Euros from WWII (Greek Citizenry, Political Parties Agree)”

  1. More and more data is being known about this “for­got­ten” com­plex issue. Sad that it has not been set­tled so far, through prin­ci­ples of jus­tice. This would be essen­tial for the uni­fi­ca­tion of nations in Euro­pean Union, bad­ly need­ed nowa­days.

    Posted by Constantinos | May 15, 2013, 1:27 am
  2. Ger­many owed loot­ed trea­sure from Rus­sia accord­ing to Merkel

    The link to this was on Drudge.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/10134758/Spat-between-Angela-Merkel-and-Vladimir-Putin-over-German-treasure.html

    I guess who owes what to whom is in the eye of the behold­er.

    Posted by GK | June 21, 2013, 3:58 pm
  3. http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Greek-Jewish-community-suing-Germany-over-Nazi-ransoms-342326

    Greek Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty suing Ger­many over Nazi ran­soms
    By JTA
    LAST UPDATED: 02/23/2014 21:56

    The Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty of Thes­sa­loni­ki is suing Ger­many for the return of a ran­som paid dur­ing the Nazi occu­pa­tion of Greece.

    The papers were filed Fri­day in the Euro­pean Court of Human Rights in Stras­bourg, France, the community’s pres­i­dent, David Saltiel, told JTA.

    The move to the Euro­pean court comes after a strug­gle of two decades in Greek courts, includ­ing the Supreme Court, which ruled that Ger­many had immu­ni­ty under inter­na­tion­al con­ven­tions.

    The ran­som was paid to free some 9,000 of Thessaloniki’s Jew­ish men, aged 18 to 45, from forced labor by the Ger­mans, who took con­trol of the city in 1942. The Ger­man civil­ian admin­is­tra­tor of the Thes­sa­loni­ki , Max Merten, demand­ed some 2.5 bil­lion drach­mas to release them.

    In total, 1.9 bil­lion drach­mas, or near­ly $69 mil­lion, was paid before the Ger­mans began trans­port­ing Thes­sa­loni­ki Jews to the death camps. More than 49,000 Jews out of the city’s pre­war Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion of 55,000 were deport­ed. Few­er than 2,000 sur­vived.

    Posted by Vanfield | February 23, 2014, 10:55 pm
  4. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/177898#.Uw6B74WmW‑U

    Ger­many Rejects Greece’s Bid For Holo­caust Repa­ra­tions
    Com­mu­ni­ty of Thes­sa­loni­ki will not receive com­pen­sa­tion for Holo­caust hor­rors, Berlin says, but leaves pos­si­bil­i­ty of future aid open.

    By AFP and Arutz She­va Staff
    First Pub­lish: 2/26/2014, 7:42 PM / Last Update: 2/26/2014, 8:03 PM

    Ger­many reject­ed a fresh Nazi-era repa­ra­tion claim by a Greek city’s Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty, accord­ing to AFP, but offered the group coop­er­a­tion on future projects.

    “With regard to issues of repa­ra­tions, there are no new devel­op­ments and all these ques­tions are answered,” a Ger­man finance min­istry spokesman told a press con­fer­ence.

    The Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty of Thes­sa­loni­ki said Tues­day it had sued Ger­many at the Euro­pean Court of Human Rights for com­pen­sa­tion over a forced ran­som paid to Nazi occu­pa­tion forces.

    It said Jew­ish res­i­dents had paid 2.5 mil­lion drach­mas to a Nazi com­man­der in July 1942 to secure the release of thou­sands of Jew­ish men sub­mit­ted to bru­tal forced labor.

    Despite the pay­ment, raised from dona­tions and prop­er­ty sales, most of the vic­tims were lat­er trans­port­ed to the Auschwitz-Birke­nau death camp in Poland where they per­ished.

    Cur­rent com­mu­ni­ty leader David Saltiel told AP that about 10,000 men were used as slave labor­ers, build­ing roads and for­ti­fi­ca­tions or repair­ing rail­ways, and bru­tal con­di­tions led to 12.5 per cent mor­tal­i­ty in the first two-and-a-half months.

    Com­mu­ni­ty offi­cials even­tu­al­ly struck a deal with a region­al Nazi com­man­der, pay­ing him 1.9 bil­lion drach­mas (about 69 mil­lion today) for their release. Soon after, how­ev­er, the city’s entire Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion was sent to Ger­man death camps.

    About 96 per­cent of Thes­sa­loniki’s 50,000 Jews were mur­dered in Nazi camps.

    A Ger­man for­eign min­istry spokesman said on Wednes­day that Berlin was ready to work on unspec­i­fied new projects with the city’s Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty, inde­pen­dent of the legal bid.

    “It’s our express pro­pos­al to pur­sue for­ward-look­ing projects with the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty of Thes­sa­loni­ki,” he told reporters.

    The finance min­istry spokesman said Ger­many has always indi­cat­ed an aware­ness of its his­tor­i­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty for World War II crimes.

    “In the rela­tion­ship with Greece, ques­tions about the future play the fun­da­men­tal role,” he said.

    Greece has said in recent years it reserves the right to claim more wartime repa­ra­tions, argu­ing it was forced to accept unfa­vor­able terms dur­ing nego­ti­a­tions with Ger­many in the 1950s.

    Posted by Vanfield | February 26, 2014, 4:12 pm

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