The map was produced by the Greek Ministry of Social Affairs in preparation for the inter-allied reparations conference in Paris at the turn of the year 1945/6. Today it is situated at the Greek parliamentary archive and was shown publicly again in the context of the newly flared up debate about crimes committed by SS and German Wehrmacht during the Nazi occupation. Continue reading
By Sebastian Gerhardt
Capital flight from Greece continues. Deposits of households and non-financial companies shrank by only 2 billion Euro in March but 5 billion in April. After the great breakdown – from December till February it was 24 billion, half of it in the election month January – high panic changed into on-going distrust of Greek banks. None of the other economic data not look good for Greece. Economic performance is stagnating. Tax revenues until March were significantly lower than in the previous year. The tourist season which could compensate for the trade imbalance with foreign countries only starts in June.
In reality what is happening with deposits is only the tip of the iceberg. The monthly statements issued by the Greek Central Bank, the Bank of Greece, give a real impression of the tense economic situation in Greece. Continue reading
When the issue of “German crimes in Greece during the Nazi occupation” is mentioned in Germany the response in pubs and the media – most German media outlets are on pub talk level themselves – are markedly aggressive. Even SPD leader and German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that demands for reparations were “stupid, to be honest”. On page 8 we publish a map documenting damages caused by German occupying forces in Greece. Below we answer the most common claims made in German pubs and elsewhere when the issue of reparations for Greece and financial compensation for Nazi victims is brought up. Continue reading
Athens, 5th March 1959. On this day a Greek court sentences Max Merten to 25 years in prison. He was the chief of the German Wehrmacht administration in Thessaloniki and one of the organisers of the deportation of 50.000 Jews to Auschwitz extermination camp. In 1957 he carelessly returned to the places of his criminal actions and got arrested there. Before he was sentenced the German parliament (Bundestag) postponed the ratification of a finance treaty with Greece in order to enforce a waiver of sentence.
Merten was released on November 5th 1959. In reality his release was forced by blackmail. The convicted war criminal Merten received homecoming compensation in western Germany for his “Passiontide in Greece”, as Der Spiegel (32/1961) formulated it. He died unblemished in 1971.
By Norman Paech (1999)
When mass crimes commited by the German Wehrmacht are being talked about the names Lidice, Oradour, Babi Jar are mentioned. But few others. The places Kragujevac in Serbia, Kortelisy in the Ukraine or Distomo, Kalavrita, Kandanos, Klissoura and Kommeno are not even mentioned in the “Enzyklopädie des Holocaust”. But they are only a few examples of countless places in eastern and central Europe where similar war crimes took place. This lack of knowledge is not due to a lack of sources. One of the twelve Nuremberg follow up trials, case seven against the “south-east generals”, overwhelmingly dealt with the murder of hostages and “expiatory- and revenge-measures” against partisans in the Balkan region. But the history of these trials was subject to a similar process of suppression and myth making as was done with the whole history of crimes committed by the Wehrmacht. The German post war justice system played a decisive part in this. Continue reading
By Stathis Kouvelakis
The Syriza government’s decision to transfer all available public sector funds to the Bank of Greece marks a political turning point. This high-risk move exposes in the clearest possible way the nature of the situation as it has evolved in the two and a half months since the February 20 agreement. The argument that was put forward then in favour of that accord was that it “bought time,” at however painful a price, so as to prepare the ground for key summer negotiations.
The claim was that for a four-month period the European Central Bank would call a halt to the torture it had been imposing on the country’s economy since February 5, when it decided to terminate the most important mechanism for funding the Greek banks. As it is now generally recognised, the government was dragged into signing that unbalanced agreement through pressure from an accelerating outflow of bank deposits and the threat of bank collapse. Continue reading
After the coup in 1967 the Greek fascist regime arrested more than 10.000 people – leftists, trade-unionists and democrats. For years thousands had to live in prisons and on islands with concentration camps. Among them celebrities like Mikis Theodorakis. The regime developed a broad scale of torture methods which were used regularly. Among them “Falanga” (“beating the sole of the foot with a metal bar or a wire”); “torture through hanging” (“prisoner is hanged at wrists, feet or ears using string or handcuffs”); “torture using electric shocks” (“electrodes are attached to some parts of the body through which high voltage electric shocks are sent. Usually both male and female genitals are used for this torture technique.”) And: “Water treatment: Water is poured into a prisoner’s mouth and nose, soap is smeared into his eyes, mouth and nose. Meanwhile his head gets battered onto the torture bench on which he is fastened.”
Quoted from: Schwarzbuch der Diktatur in Griechenland, Rowohlt, Hamburg 1970, S. 134; based on reports handed to the European Council
A few days after the military coup on April 21st 1967 when a fascist regime of colonels took power in Greece, Fatios Gouras, a CSU-member  and personal friend of CSU-leader Franz-Josef Strauß set up the “National Movement of Greeks in the Federal Republic of Germany – E.K.E.” This organisation adorned itself with the fascist emblem, a phoenix with a soldier bearing a bayonet. E.K.E cadres spied on Greek migrant workers in western Germany and terrorised Greek students in Germany who protested against the junta. Strauß declared shortly after the coup: “The Drachma now is the most stable currency in the world.” The colonels used this statement to lure investors into their country.
Soon after the coup, Marcell Hepp, personal adviser to Strauß, travelled to Greece for “political consultations” with the fascist rulers. Continue reading
Demands that the Deutsche Bahn AG repays travel costs from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz
In April 2015 the non-government organisation “Train of Commemoration” together with the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki sent a letter to the Deutsche Bahn AG which, amongst others, was sent to Dr. Rüdiger Grube. In this letter it says: “We are approaching “Deutsche Bahn AG”, the historical successor of the “Deutsche Reichsbahn”, with our demand to reimburse to heirs of Greek Holocaust victims of Thessaloniki for train fares that they were forced to pay for their deportation from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz and Treblinka between March and August 1943.” In the letter the logistical calculation is made that the Reichsbahn mostly charged 2 “Reichspfennig” per rail kilometer for transportation in goods wagons mainly designed to transport animals. This means the company charged 39 Reichsmark for every deported person for the 1.985 km long track from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz/Treblinka. In total it is assumed that the Deutsche Reichsbahn made around 2,3 million Reichsmark from these deportations alone. Continue reading
FCH editors statement
We are pleased to be able to publish in our paper the joint ecumenical letter by women and men from different churches in Greece, among them prominent professors, a faculty dean, a poet, a scholar of Islam, a priest and members of the World Council of Churches. It is aimed at the Evangelischer Kirchentag which took place in Stuttgart from 3rd to 6th of June with more than a hundred thousand visitors. May this letter open doors and spark new discussions.
„The law shall stream like water and justice like an inexhaustible stream.“ (Prophet Amos 5, 24)
– written by theologians from Thessaloniki/Greece
Thessaloniki May 2015. We aim this letter at everyone taking part in the Evangelischer Kirchentag 2015 and all those concerned about the economic crisis and its devastating effects on huge parts of the population in Greece. We seek a dialogue to counter both the propaganda and the insults directed against the people in our country and the newly elected government, and to promote forms of coverage about Greece and policies orientated towards justice and the common good.
“Den andechoume allo! ….We cannot cope anymore!” …. On 25th of January 2015 a majority of the Greek population voted out of great despair for a determined NO! Against the policies of the governing parties and the measures imposed on Greece by the IMF, the banks and the organs of the EU. The now governing coalition currently still enjoys unusually high levels of support amongst the population.
“Can you really trust this new, inexperienced and left wing government?” is a question we are being asked time and again. “What happened in Greece that led to this humanitarian crisis?” To these questions we wish to provide a few pointers. Continue reading