Eighty years have passed since Hitler’s German invasion of Greece. On this historic anniversary, the Greek Foreign Ministry stressed that the question of compensation is still open from a Greek perspective. “These demands are valid and active and are being pressed for in any way,” said Alexandros Papayano, a spokesman for the Ministry of German Press. “Negotiations will make a very positive contribution to the further development of Greco-German relations.”
Greece reaffirms its demands against Germany
In June 2019, Greece – under then-left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras – asked Germany to negotiate compensation. In October 2019, this request was rejected by the German side. A few months later, in January 2020, the government of the current Conservative Prime Minister, Griacos Mitsotakis, also confirmed in a diplomatic note that the issue of compensation was still very important to them.
Compensation is not an issue in a two-plus-four contract
The German federal government sees it differently. According to them, the two-plus-four agreement of 1990, which first enabled German unity, closed the issue of compensation legally and politically. The agreement between the Federal Republic, the GDR and the four former occupying powers, the United States, the Soviet Union, France and Great Britain, regulates the foreign policy consequences of German unity and does not specify compensation.
Bundestock’s scientific service considers payment possible
At all points the Bundestack Scientific Service, like the federal government, did not see this clearly in a report released in 2019. At least in the case of Greece, the federal government’s argument is acceptable under international law, but in no way compelling – so the report is over. For example, unlike Poland, it makes claims that Greece “never made an obvious discount”. According to the federal government’s argument, the two – four agreements of 1990 should have regulated all compensation issues “in conclusion and in detail”, the Scientific Service writes: compensation is not actually specified in the contract. Even so, Greece, the third country not to participate in the deal, will have to agree with the consequences, the report said.
GTR pays compensation
GTR paid substantial compensation to the Soviet Union between 1948 and 1953. Initially, this happened primarily through the removal of industrial facilities, but, for example, tracks. By 1953, GDR had lost about 30 percent of its industrial capacity in this way. In the Potsdam Treaty, the successful powers agreed that Poland should be compensated for the benefits accruing to the Soviet Union. In 1953, the Polish government told the GDR that it would avoid further compensation in the future.
So far, the Federal Republic has paid 71 billion euros for the injustices perpetrated by the Nazis – total to the states, but also to individual victims.
Poland is also demanding compensation from Germany
For some years now, Poland has been demanding compensation from a united Germany. However, in September 2017 the Scientific Service of the Polish Parliament put forward an expert opinion on the enormous damage caused to Germany by the war, occupation and terrorism of the German Reich. Six million Polish citizens died between 1939 and 1945. Material damage caused by the German occupation was estimated at $ 48.8 billion after the war.
To date, Poland has backed down with official demands
However, the authors did not specify the extent of the claim. The then Polish Foreign Minister Vitalt Vassikovsky kept a trillion euros in the room in September 2017, but said the legal situation was “vague” and “confusing”. However, the then Prime Minister of Poland, Beta Saido, announced that he wanted to formally place demands on Germany at the political level. These are the “question of dignity and justice towards Poland”. This was announced by his successor Andrzej Duda. To date, however, the Polish government has been reluctant to make official demands.
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