Press Conference about the German Obligations owed to to Greece (English subs)Robin Kshlerin March 2, 2020 0 COMMENTS
We do not consider the German people responsible for the crimes the Third Reich committed against the Greek people. I strongly believe that we claim Justice, the restoration of Justice just like the newspaper “Die Zeit” wrote in 1995: “Ein Unrecht muss gesühnt werden” – (A mistake that should be expiated) I am not sure if I pronounced it correctly in German excuse my greek accent when I speak in German. So, it’s all about restorating Justice. Recently I was invited by the German School of Athens and I had the opportunity to talk with many students there. Through those conversations I realised that Greek and German people can contribute to the making of a bridge that will offer to all European peoples a spirit of friendship. If a real friendship establishes between Greeks and Germans then Europe will change its face and it will be transformed from NATO’s and Merkel’s Europe into a Europe of peoples and citizens. The left “die Linke” in Germany two weeks ago, at a party meeting, took the decision that we would call upon the federal government to raise the question of reparation payments to Greece and to put that back on the agenda, so that there would be talks so that everybody would bear in mind this joint responsibility so that people couldn’t evade it and just forget about what has happened and I think that it’s even more important than the actual payments that will have to be debated. There are questions that I address especially to the current German government: How does Germany explain the fact that it has settled its debts towards all the other countries as it was decided by the Inter-allied Reparation Agency which was held in Paris in 1946 but it has not repaid Greece – the only exception. Second question: Germany got compulsory loans from Poland, Yugoslavia and Greece. Germany did repay these compulsory loans to both Poland and Yugoslavia, but again not to Greece – why? My third question: The Inter-allied Reparation Agency in Paris defined what Italy and Bulgaria should repay to Greece as well. It is common knowledge that Italians and Bulgarians reached the Greek territory only because the German army conquered Greece. They were hangers-on, just following behind. However, they have paid. Only Germany excludes itself, all the German governments till now exclude themselves. What gives them this right? It may sound weird, but I think these are mainly moral questions. Have the German governments been taking revenge on us because in 1940-1941 the Greek people defeated the Axis and therefore defeated the myth that the Axis’ forces were invincible? Have they been taking revenge upon us because with the battle at our borders and the Battle of Crete we overturned all of Hitler’s plans? Have you ever heard about “General Winter”? Is their revenge the result of us having blocked 12 elite German troops of Wehrmacht in Greece helping to prevent in this way Germany from being today a Nazi state? It really makes me wonder. Why all this hate towards Greece? Why still Germany has not fulfilled its obligations towards Greece when it has done so to every other country? In 1946 the German property abroad was confiscated… …as part of the Paris agreement. Estimates are that billions of US dollars’ worth of property was confiscated. Then, at the 1953 Conference, the calculations from all the compensation paid so far, were excluded. All the compensation paid until that date was calculated and was deducted from the debts that still have to be paid by Germany. So legally speaking it would be very difficult to unravel this. Then Germany was advised, that it shouldn’t insist on the paid compensation being included in the calculations Germany was advised to drop the question of reparations and I think that this where a lot of the problem we‘re dealing with today arises from. Germany says that at the 1953 Debtors’ Conference Conference its reparation commitments had been met. But that is not the case. And that’s something that we‘ve got to say quite clearly. Schäuble has said: “The matter is considered closed”. My immediate response to Schäuble was this: When he says that the matter is closed, he obviously accepts that there was a matter which now is closed. Could Schäuble answer us when and how this matter was closed? He has not answered yet to my second question. It is also Schäuble’s point of view that we should leave the past behind and look towards the future. I have no objection to that. But if this is the case, then why did the German government decide not only to compensate the descendants of the Jewish victims of the Nazi atrocity but, please pay attention to this, Germany also offers them pensions. In addition, they haven’t set a time limit on how long the descendants of the victims will be receiving pensions namely it can be forever: their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on, are entitled to these pensions. I would like to insist on this: all these descendants will not receive a compensation, but a pension. Is this, dear Schäuble, past or future?