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German Parliament report confirms Greece’s legal chances to WWII Reparation

A experts’ evaluation from thee Scientific Service of the German Parliament (Bundestag) confirmed Greece’s WWII reparation claim at least on the “enforced loan” part of the claim. On the basis of the International Law that sets the rules generally regarded and accepted as binding in relations between states and nations, the report analyzes the “enforced loan” conditions and possible time limitations for the Greek claim.

It comes to the conclusion that Greece had any right to claim the repayment of the enforced loan in 1990 when the Reunification of Germany was sealed with the Two-Plus-Four Treaty of Paris. And that this right has not been abolished neither that it was a subject to “time limitation”, as the German government insists.

Furthermore, the report examines the legal options for Greece in international, Greek or German courts.

Still in 2013, the year when the report of the Scientific Service of the German parliament was issued, Greece had chances to claim if not the whole pack of World War II reparations from Germany, certainly repayment of the loan it was enforced to give to German occupation forces in 1942 and ‘finance’ the occupation of Greece.

The 15-page report has the title “On the Greek enforced loan of 1942” – protocol number WD2 -3000 – 093/2013.

KTG has access to the report of the Scientific Service of the German Parliament and here are the main points:

 

Bundestag GR Zwangsanleihe 1942 title1

KTG has access to the report of the Scientific Service of the German Parliament and here are the main points:

Bundestag GR Zwangsanleihe1 1942

“In 1942, the German Reich enforced Greece to lent money in order to pay for the occupation cost. At the end of the war, Germany owed Greece 476 million Reichsmark.”

The report states among others that:

“The question on whether a Greek repayment claim towards Germany exists has not been cleared through a “binding judge decision”, especially because Greece has not legally claimed the repayment, for example in a civil court in Germany.

Furthermore the report notes that there have been “no bilateral agreements between Greece and Germany on the issue based on international law.

The report stresses that its findings are “not legally specified findings” but a “description of the frame conditions of the claim based on International Law“.

Time limitation for the Greek Repayment Claim

After a long explanation of the legality or illegality of the German enforced loan from Greece (based on the Haager Landwar Law of 1907), the report comes to the question of whether “time limitationexists for the Greek claim.

Here we should not that the German government claims that Greek WWII reparations have been forfeit through payments in 1960 and that after the 1990 Treaty of Paris, the Greek claims have been object to “time limitations.”

 

Bundestag GR Zwangsanleihe2 1942

The begin of time limitation is problematic because the enforced loan agreement did not was set the time for the repayment,” notes the report stressing that “when the Two-Plus-Four Treaty of 1990 came into force instead of a Peace Treaty” Greece could have claimed the repayment.

Then, “In the year 1965, German President Erhard held out to Greeks the perspective that “as soon as the reunification happens, the enforced loan will be paid back.” However it is questionable whether a judge [in case Greece could claim the repayment in courts] “would accept the unilateral statement of then German Chancellor Erhard.”

 Tacit consent or implied consent

“That Greece has not claimed so far the repayment could lead Germany to claim that Greece gave its silent consent or implied consent.”

However such an assumption cannot be “scientifically confirmed” as several legal concepts are not specified according to International Law.

The report concludes with the several legal options for Greece to claim the repayment in the International Court of the Hague, in Greek national courts or in German civilian courts. With the last being apparently the most appropriate option.

Germany wants to avoid “precedent”

According to a report of Frontal 21-Magazine broadcast on 3. March 2015 by German state television network ZDF, Germany achieved the postponement of a payment in reparations and compensation to Greece worth billions in 1953.

Lawyer Anestis Nessou told Frontal 21-Magazine the “enforced loan” was ” 786million Reichsmarks in October 1944, “some 3.5 billion euro”. Nessou’s data is based on Nazi-occupators’ document at the German Foreign Ministry.

The German Government will continue to reject the Greek reparation claim in order to avoid a “precedent”, Nessou told ZFD. “If Greeks would be compensated, then other countries could make claims against Germany.”

Frontal 21 proved that Greece has never really abolished its right to claim the WWII reparations neither gave silent consent after 1990 Reunification Treaty. The TV-magazine cites a verbal note from November 1995.

Professor for International Law  Andreas Fischer-Lescano criticized the German government for using “cynical tricks and tactics” in a way that is “degrading for a state of law”.

PS I wonder what the German Bundestag says to the report  issued by the Scientific Service.

 

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27 comments

  1. I don’t speak German and I have no basis to ascertain the validity of this document.

    Give us an English source.

  2. keeptalkinggreece

    what English source for a German Parliament document?

  3. Dear Plassaras should use Google translate as the original is provided with English translation.

    I believe the purpose of these claims against Germany per se should be to illustrate the hypocrisy of the Schauble-Merkel post nazi government’s stance towards the Eurozone. The hypocrisy arises from their joint desire to prevent public understanding –particularly among the German electorate–of how they failed to supervise their banks, how many of the public banks (landesbanken and sparkassen) were gulled by wall street/ City of London traders into purchasing asset backed securities of various types and how these banks lost a lot of money; the only money they could identify for sure were loans to other countries. The whole alphabet soup of derivatives that were purchased by public banks were recorded as trading losses. SO where do you look for money? It is this cynical play on stereotypes which enabled them to cover up their own failures by pointing the finger at Greece and its defects in governance.
    The more the spotlight is shone on Germany, the more it is possible to bring to light this hypocrisy and thus challenge it in order to construct a fair deal for all countries in Europe.

  4. Don’t have the time or the inclination for German nonsense.

  5. Pity because you miss the point of the above!

  6. Add to your ultimate sentence the fact that Germany has derived benefit from the present Eurozone problems, while other members have suffered.

  7. Wrong, the report does not deal with reparations, it deals with a possible repayment of the infamous Wehrmacht loan, two entirely different things.

    Furthermore, the report specifically states that the findings have no legal basis and are merely an examination. This report neither confirms nor does it negate the greek claim.

    It is a SCIENTIFIC examination, not a legal one. Big difference.

  8. keeptalkinggreece

    this is what KTG says too.

  9. “German Parliament report confirms Greece’s legal chances to WWII Reparation”

    Eh no, it does not, starting with the title of this article.

  10. You keep using the word reparations, which is not discussed nor is it examined. Repayment and reparations are two completely different issues and the article does not make that clear enough.

  11. Nor did Frontal21 confirm anything, they invited a historian who voiced his opinion. This scientist is no lawyer, he can’t confim anything on legal matters. He can have an opinion based on his findings but that is hardly hard confirmation on legal issues.

  12. Huh seems like Frontal21(link) did send me to another episode on this matter. Sorry for that. Still the person, Nessou might be a lawyer but according to his qualifications, international law(legal issues between states) is not among them. So hardly someone who could confirm it as well.

    Frontal21 did confirm however that according to the Greeks the claim was never dropped, since the verbal note is from the greek government.

  13. keeptalkinggreece

    ‘chances’

  14. keeptalkinggreece

    ok I got your point. apart from Oberlehrerhaften teaching democracy, politics and economics, now you teach media language. *clap*clap*

  15. keeptalkinggreece

    there so a similar report in ARD too.

  16. Does your article claim that a study confirms chances for “reparation” claims or does it not?

    I am pointing out an information that is obviously wrong. Nothing to do with Oberlehrerhaftigkeit. The fact of the matter is that the report does in no way confirm legal chances for reparations, nor does it confirm legal chances for a repayment since it is not the purpose of the study to confirm or negate either claim.

    Of course that becomes only clear if one e.g. the reader is able to read the original german report.

  17. The point of this war reparations and enforced loan is that both events occurred. It is fact.

    The enforced loan is as it is stated an enforced loan. If it was ISRAEL making this claim the Germans would pay within 24 hours, because they feel shame for what they did to the Jewish people in WW2. But because we are Greeks and gave the invading facsist forces a hard time invading our Greece. First by defeating and ousting and pushing back the Italian facsist forces all the way back to the north of Albania. And then when we held the German fascist forces for two weeks when they thought they could enter our Greece immediately like they did to the rest of Europe. And also gave them a hard time in Crete. So they enforced a loan to keep their forces in our Greece.

    If it was Greece that enforced such a loan on Germany you could be assured they would be making a lot more noise and setting a date of repayment. At the soonest possible date.

    On war reparation what can some one say. Did not the German occupying forces destroy peoples houses, bridges, farms, churches, hospitals, factories, shops, steal livestock, rape women, kill whole families, destroy whole villages, made millions, orphans, widows and widowers,through uncontrolled murder and crimes against humanity? Did the Greeks do anything to the Germans to deserve crime against it. How would a German family feel if someone raped a member of their family or tortured and killed a young child in their family? And the Germans after all they did to the Greek people they got away with it all with just a sorry and a wreath. Why not ask those who suffered because of their aggression if they received any compansation. Do they not deserve that. It is not about the money it is about the principle and a lesson to others that would try to make war on others. So Germany should pay up no matter how long it has been. And WW2 was not that long ago.

  18. Soon there would be a third claim against Germany for forcing Greece into austerity measures that are destroying the lives of the ordinary people and suffering due to starvation, stress, and suicides. As they are forcing these harsh austerity measures on the Greek ordinary people.

  19. You cleary demonstrate that you have no idea what you are talking about. Red up on the issue and drop the emotional crap, this is not a matter of emotions it is a matter of international law and will only be resolved by an international court, not by a Greek nor by a German one.

    Any discussion beyond the legality of these claims is wasted energy.

  20. So what about the other 15+ nations that agreed with Germany on the measures? Will you try to sue them for reparations as well xD

  21. Franz- I’m a bit confused by terminology. Why would a “Scientific Service” be doing legal research? Or is this just a generic term for an office that does advisory research on a a broad swath of subjects for the Bundestag? In the US The Attorney General’s (AG) office would do something like this on legal matters. The findings are not legally binding, but do provide a sort of administrative guidance. For example, if a law has a possible ambiguity, the AG will issue findings to resolve the ambiguity so that the governmental agencies minimize their risk in how they apply the law, rather than going to the time and expense of being brought into court if the application chosen were to be challenged.

  22. I see why that could be confusing. They didn’t do legal research, hence me stressing that in my comments above, rather they tried to provide a scientific framework on the matter, a waste of time and effort from my point of view since their findings are neither legally binding nor can they be used in court, since their findings are not legally relevant.

    As for what the “Wissenschaftliche Dienste des Deutschen Bundestages” is, it is a scientific board of various experts, divided into 11 topics(history, international law, constitution,federal finances, economy and technology, social matters, German law, environment, health, culture and Europe)that does provide data and scientific evaluations on certain matters where the government would need specific data or scientific point of views.

    However they are first and foremost a scientific board hired by the federal republic of Germany, so they are really just scientific advisers with no legal power, or relevance for that matter. Since they are not actually part of the country’s legislature body, though they are a German governmental service. They are supposed to help the members of the legislature to catch up on the knowledge and experience, members of the executive already have.

    It is nothing like the AG’s office. The German equivalent of that would be the “Staatsanwaltschaft” they could look into the legality of these claims and actually could provide both a credible and relevant analysis on the matter, at least as far as the German courts are concerned.

  23. Franz-

    Actually, there are functions performed by the US and state AGs that parallel what you describe. Only the courts can permanently resolve a legal ambiguity. An AG opinion has no greater legal standing than an opposing position’s legal arguments in a court of law. However, since many AG opinions pertaining to legal ambiguities are effectively “risk assessments”, they tend to be followed by the government agencies they advise as administratively binding, to minimize risk to the government.

  24. Ah I wasn’t aware of that. Though courts can resolve legal ambiguity in Germany the data provided by the “Wissenschaftliche Dienste des Deutschen Bundestages” or “WD” is not relevant for any legal purposes beyond informing about certain topics. But their findings can’t confirm a legal claim from a legal point of view.

  25. Unlike at the federal level, in 43 states, the AG is independently elected and is the chief enforcement officer of the law, defends the state in court proceedings and is the adviser to the governor and state agencies on the law. Thus, he is theoretically not beholden to any state official, including the Chief Executive.

    The US AG office can also provide legal opinions to the Executive Branch, but since it is part of the Executive Branch, it is often called upon to pursue political ends a bit more than legal ends. Such are the allegations against the infamous “Torture Memos” issued by officials of the Office of the US Attorney General. It is unclear if the memos were requested to receive an objective legal opinion, or a legal opinion as to “how far can we go” so that the Administration could defend “enhanced interrogation techniques” that the CIA wished to use. It is interesting to note that when the Secretary of Defense tried to use the Torture Memos as a basis for Armed Forces behavior, the Judge Advocate Generals of all the Services refused to agree, and the Armed Forces thus never adopted the more extreme techniques. Were a miracle to happen, and someone had the courage to prosecute anyone for such interrogation as crimes, then the tried and failed, “I was only following orders defense” would be used in an attempt to remove culpability from everyone below the AG Office level. Of course, that level of courage hasn’t exhibited itself yet. Among the spoils that go to the victor, immunity from war crimes charges seems to be in the basket.

  26. Thanks for sharing this information, will look into this a bit more.