Setting the record straight on Germany

n his reply to a letter from Mr George Frangopulos on September 22, Dr Hansgeorg Blechschmid tries to set the record straight on Germany. It is not my intention to deny the Greek politicians’ reprehensible role which brought the country to this sorry state. But Dr Blechschmid’s mention of gratitude and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics confused me (Kathimerini English Edition, November 4). Should the Greeks be grateful to Germans all the way back to Aristotle’s time? This would probably be difficult: Where were the Germans then and what were they up to? To make life easier, for argument’s sake, let us restrict ourselves to the last hundred years. Should Greeks be grateful for the German generals’ (e.g. Lyman von Sanders) advice to the Ottoman army to displace Greeks from their ancestral coastal towns and villages in Asia Minor? Is Dr Blechschmid aware of what happened to them? Does he condone it? For the invasion of Greece 25 years later? For the occupation of Greece for four very destructive years? Does he condone that? For the theft of all seeds and foodstuffs from Greece and the resulting mass death through starvation? For the extermination of Salonica’s (and other cities’) Greek Jewish populations? For the destruction and massacre of the populations of entire towns such as Kandanos, Kalavryta and Distomo to name but a few? Does he condone those? For the theft of fixed assets from occupied Greece that were transported to Germany? For the obligatory «loans» to the forces of occupation? For the looting of the Bank of Greece’s gold? Is he in favor of that? For the nonreturn of the looted gold and repayment of the obligatory «loans»? For the derisory claims that 100 million Deutsche marks, or some paltry sum like that, were reparations? Does he agree with all that? For the legal shenanigans used to avoid reparations despite the massive destruction inflicted on Greece? Is he aware that when there were two Germanys the argument was «one had to wait for reunification»? After reunification, one could not even get an answer on this point. Does he feel that all of the above have been sufficiently whitewashed to be practically invisible? Coming closer to today, does Dr Blechschmid want gratitude for the aid provided to German banks so that their holdings of Greek debt would not default? Does he expect gratitude for Germany assuring German banks that they will not choke on Greek debt? Is he actually aware that in order to finance the aid package to Greece, Germany borrows at half the interest rate it subsequently lends at to Greece? Does he want gratitude for Germany making a profit on the financing of Greek debt? Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics aside, did Dr Blechschmid really mean to use the word «gratitude»? PANAYIOTIS DRACOS Athens