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GREECE IN WWII: WHAT THE NAZIS LEFT BEHIND Print E-mail
Tuesday, 07 July 2020 07:48
Greece was occupied by Germany between 1941 and 1944. 

When the Nazi forces began retreating in October 1944 they left as rubble almost 800 villages and small towns. In the first winter of the occupation 100,000 people starved to death. 60,000 Greek Jews were deported and murdered. Almost 50,000 people were killed in the resistance and in reprisal massacres. 

A persistent strain on relations between Greek and German governments remains Germany’s refusal to pay reparations for the damage it did to Greece. A Greek parliamentary commission in 2016 put the cost at more than 300 billion euros. 


But there were also Greek collaborators with the Germans. Stratos Dordanas, assistant professor for modern and contemporary European and Balkan history at the University of Macedonia, explained in a TV interview how a long taboo and still controversial topic in Greece is now open to debate.
“Today we are certain that many Greeks collaborated with German troops and the SS during the war, and for many different reasons. For some, taking up arms was a new adventure, as was adopting Nazi ideology. Connected to that was the chance to earn money as public officials, or to benefit from the distribution of war spoils or wealth that had been appropriated from Jews. Some people also hoped to increase their survival chances under the difficult conditions of the occupation. And others still saw collaboration as the only way to protect their families and villages from the attacks of resistance fighters.”

From the university website: “In the 1950s, the Federal Republic of Germany systematically downplayed all crimes committed during the Second World War. Massacres, reprisals and the brutal violence on the part of the German occupying forces were always twisted or relativized in favour of a bilateral renewal of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Greece and Germany, and both sides cultivated forgetfulness and collective amnesia. 

About the crimes of the German Occupation in Greece there is public ignorance, even today. Oradour in France or Lidice in Czechoslovakia are places of horror and memory. Kalavryta, Distomo and Klissura are, on the other hand, nonexistent in the map of European collective memory. One can read about Oradour in nearly all German textbooks, but for Distomo one can hardly find a single line in a school textbook.” 

 The archive can be accessed at http://www.occupation-memories.org/nline.

 More about the project, in English, German and Greek, is on the website of the Freie Universität: 

https://www.fu-berlin.de/en/presse/informationen/fup/2018/fup_18_073-online-archiv-zeitzeugen-griechenland/index.html

SOURCE: website NEOS KOSMOS, 2.6.2020

Photo: Wikipedia

 

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