Germany brushes off WWII reparation claims [Update]

Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel on Monday brushed off calls by Greece’s newly elected government for Berlin to pay reparations for damage inflicted during the country’s Nazi occupation, claiming that the matter was settled following German reunification in 1990.

“The likelihood is zero,” Gabriel, who is also Germany’s economy minister, said during a meeting of Social Democrats Monday, adding that the issue, as well as other related issues, had been settled when the former East and West Germany signed a treaty with the Four Powers in 1990. “There is no sense continuing down this road,” he said.

Speaking in Parliament Monday, Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos said that he intends to sign rulings issued previously by Greek courts ordering Germany to compensate survivors and relatives of those massacred by a Nazi SS squad in the village of Distomo, on June 10, 1944.

“Claims will be made… with the execution of court rulings,” he said, adding that his predecessors had failed to rubber-stamp the decisions.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Greece had a “moral obligation” to claim billions of euros in reparations for the physical and financial destruction caused by the four-year occupation and forced wartime loan.