Germany wants end to Distomo

BERLIN (AP) – A top German diplomat yesterday urged the Greek government to oppose the imminent sale of German property to compensate relatives of Greek villagers massacred by German troops at the end of the war. Deputy foreign minister Juergen Chrobog said Athens should step in to end the dispute. I hope they find the strength to clear up this matter, he told a conference for German diplomats in Berlin. He said Germany had great understanding for the victims of the Nazis, but can’t get into a new discussion on reparations. A lawyer for the relatives is to begin auctioning the Goethe Institute and the German Archaeological Institute at Athens this month as part of a 9.4 billion drachma ($24.5 million) damages award won in July through a Greek court after years of legal wrangling. Money from the sale is to go to relatives of 214 civilians executed by Nazi troops in June 1944 in Distomo. Germany still hopes the sale of the two institutes will be stopped by an appeals court. A ruling is expected by September 19, when the auction process is set to begin.

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