Greek Defense Ministry has published a video with rare footage from the occupation of Greece by the Nazis during the World War II. Among others, the footage shows children suffering from malnutrition and emaciated adults, victims of the Great Famine during the Nazi occupation. The video is should be seen in the context of the Greek claim of 278.7 billion euro in WWII reparations from Germany.
According to the video voice-over, the Enforced Loan by the Nazis was to blame for the mass starvation of estimated 300,000 people in Athens alone.
“The agreement of 14. March 1942 foresaw that Greece paid to its occupiers 1.5 billion drachmas per month, a total of 3.5 billion USD, according to the Dollar value of 1938. The current value of the enforced loan is 54 billion euro without the interest. The agreement had to be implemented retrospectively as of 1.1. 1942.
The agreement was signed by Germany and Italy and Greece was notified later.
Two agreement modifications were added on 2. December 1942, with the effect that Germany had to start repaying the loan by April 1943.
Germany paid back two installments only.
In the Peace Paris Treaties (1947) Greece claimed 14 billion USD in war reparations, but the allies reduced the Greek claim down to 7.1 billion USD.”
Video: from the Archive of the Greek War Museum*
According to the video “Greece lost 13% of its population during the WWII. One part was lost in the battlefield, but the largest part due to Famine and the Nazis’ atrocities.”
The Great Famine, the period of mass starvation during the occupation of Greece by the powers of Axis – the fascist Italy and the Nazi Germany – hit especially the urban areas and some islands. The Great Famine was initiated by a large scale plunder by the Axis forces and as soon as the German army entered Athens 0n 27. April 1941. The Nazis confiscated fuel and all means of transportation, including fishing boats, preventing any transfer of food and other supplies and seized strategic industries. They proceeded with the wholesale and food looting , unemployment and hyperinflation skyrocketed, the black market flourished. The price of bread was increased 89-fold from April 1941 to June 1942.
During the winter of 1941-1942, the food supplies system had collapsed, the famine was in its peak and mortality exploded.
According to the records of the German army the mortality rate only in Athens reached 300 deaths per day during December 1941, while the estimates of the Red Cross were much higher, at 400 deaths while in some days the death toll reached 1,000.
Next to Famine, the atrocities committees by the Nazi occupiers against the locals ended up in the “murdering of residents in 89 cities and villages, they burned down more than 1,700 villages and killed many of their residents,” so the Defense Ministry video.
The Defense Ministry concludes its narration noting that “Italy paid its share in WWII reparations but Germany did not.”
Last year, Greece concluded a large scale investigation about its claim on WWII reparations to be paid by Germany. The new Greek government made the issue one of its top priorities. Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas declared the Greek claim was 278.7 billion euro.
Germany vehemently rejects the Greek claims even thought without legally convincing arguments.
Greece is expected to bring up the issue again and again with whatever tools it has in its hands. Until it decides to solve the issue in the courts.
*Deputy Defense Minister Kostas Isychos had recently announced that ministry was in possession of the s-called Wehrmacht- Archive, an archive of 400,000 records of the German occupation, was currently in the process of digitization. therefore, I am not sure if the filmed material is from the Wehrmacht Archive.