Tag Archives: WWII

“​Payback time? Greek PM seeks reparations over Nazi occupation & war-time loan…”

Well, well, well…
I remember sayin’ it a couple of days ago, that what seemed to be a Russian stunt in the beginning, may turn into an internationally legitimate outcry for a justice Germany hoped to have been brushed under history’s dirty rug…
Please someone help me understand, why would individual nazi war criminals need to be chased and prosecuted for crimes against humanity, while the common denominator of these mass assassins, Germany, is still at large, happily collecting interests on loans given to nations they themselves have left devastated and bankrupt?
«Berlin has vehemently refused to consider the payment of any reparations. “Nearly 70 years after the end of World War II, the question of reparations has lost legitimacy,” a German finance ministry spokesman declared recently.»
Wow, someone really needs to believe themselves to be untouchable Übermensch, above any ethical obligation, moral, civil or any other law, to have the shamelessness to declare such an enormity.
Payback time?
I hope so…

http://rt.com/news/230479-greece-tsipras-germany-nazi/

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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Reuters / Francois Lenoir)

«Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, referring to Nazi Germany’s four-year occupation of Greece and a forced war-time loan during World War II that saddled the Greek economy in huge debt, wants Berlin to pay reparations.
Tsipras, leader of the anti-austerity Syriza party, said Athens had a “historical obligation” to claim from Germany billions of euros in reparations for the physical and financial destruction committed during Nazi Germany’s occupation of Greece.
Beyond the historical obligation, he said Greece had “a moral obligation to our people, to history, to all European peoples who fought and gave their blood against Nazism,” he said in a keynote address to parliament on Sunday.
The Greek leader’s comments have resonated far beyond Athens as they place the issue of his country’s recent massive bailout at the behest of international creditors in a whole new light.
After Nazi forces took control of Greece in 1941, the stage was set for one of the bloodiest confrontations of World War II as Greek resistance fighters put up a fierce struggle to end the occupation.They were powerless, however, to prevent the Third Reich from extracting an interest-free 476 million Reichsmarks loan from the Greek central bank, which devastated the Greek economy.
A 2012 report by the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, estimated the value of the loan at US$8.25 billion. Greece, however, puts the value of the loan at €11 billion, the To Vima newspaper reported in January, citing confidential financial documents.
Tsipras claims Germany owes Greece around €162 billion ($183 billion) – about half the country’s debt load, which is estimated at over €315 billion.
The figure is said to cover €108 billion for infrastructure damage wrought by the occupying Nazi forces between 1941 and the end of the war, and €54 billion as compensation for the unpaid loan.
Berlin has vehemently refused to consider the payment of any reparations. “Nearly 70 years after the end of World War II, the question of reparations has lost legitimacy,” a German finance ministry spokesman declared recently.
German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel also denies any opportunity of making payments to Greece, as the treaty signed in 1990 did not outline any additional payments in the future.
“The probability is zero,” he said.
However, Greece does not agree and says the payments must be discussed with united Germany – not with the nation as it was in 1990.
On 25 January 2015, Tsipras led Syriza to a stunning victory, attracting 36 percent of the vote and 149 out of the 300 seats in the parliament. Now, the energetic 40-year-old prime minister aims to make good on his pledge to eliminate unpopular austerity measures demanded by the global financial lenders in return for massive loan bailouts.
At the same time, the new Greek government said it would not accept the latest tranche of the IMF bailout valued at €7 billion.
On May 1, 2010, former Prime Minister George Papandreou announced a fourth round of austerity measures, which included steeper public sector pay cuts, pension reductions and new taxes on corporate profits. These measures prompted a nationwide strike on 5 May, which led to the death of three activists as the demonstrations turned violent.
Understanding that austerity measures cannot resolve Greece’s problems, Syriza hopes to refill government coffers by issuing treasury bills.
“We only have one commitment: to serve the interests of our people, the good of society,” Tsipras said, while emphasizing the “irreversible decision” of his government to carry out its campaign promises.»

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“Russian nationalists suggest enormous lawsuit against Germany over WWII damages…”

Germany seems to have accessed again, an amount of wealth and power, none of the other participants in WWII would have dreamed about, except maybe for the US, which for reasons less than altruistic actually launched back -both economically and politically- Europe’s most beligerant power, on its track of dominance and control…
None of these would have been possible without the dignified and humble quietness of those “other” countries, which are still struggling to crawl back to levels of civilisation crushed under the merciless boots of Wermacht and Waffen SS.
All that quietness, came with some sort of justified expectation, that forgiveness and forgetfulness shall be met by some sort of self conscious, sympathetic restraint from Germany, that all the irreversible wrongs they have inflicted upon innocent others, will not escalate in less than one generation, back into a position of power justly referred sometimes, as the successful 4th Reich…
And since such justified expectation doesn’t seem to have been even considered, the generation of victims still alive, and their children, shall raise to ask, and further to demand back what’s been taken from them, only to be turned into whips slashing open wounds still painfully healing…

http://rt.com/politics/228851-russia-germany-war-compensation/

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“Picture: RIA Novosti/Andrei Aleksandrov

A lawmaker representing the populist LDPR nationalist party wants to calculate all damages inflicted by Nazi Germany on Russia during World War II, in order to slap Berlin with a lawsuit that could amount to €4 trillion.

“Germany didn’t pay any reparations to the USSR to compensate for destruction and brutalities committed during the Second World War. The Yalta agreement allowed the USSR to seize some German assets from the Soviet occupation sector, but these were mostly industrial machinery, furniture and clothing, that could be considered spoils of war and that could not compensate for the damage inflicted to the Soviet economy by the war,” MP Mikhail Degtyaryov said in an interview with the Izvestia daily.

Degtyaryov also elaborated that after the war the USSR entered an agreement with East Germany to stop reparation payments, but no such treaties were made with the Federal Republic of Germany. This fact makes it legally possible to file a lawsuit against the modern unified Germany, which is the same state.

The MP quoted the verdict of the Soviet government commission that evaluated the damages from WWII as 30 percent of the national wealth. In particular, the Nazi aggressors destroyed 1,710 Soviet cities and towns, 70,000 villages, 32,000 factories and 100,000 collective farms.

In addition to huge material losses, the USSR lost a tremendous amount of people to the war, Degtyaryov noted. “What we have now is that Germany repaid compensations over 6 million victims of the Holocaust but ignored the deaths of 27 million Soviet people, over 16 million of which were civilians,” he said.

According to the lawmaker’s calculations, the total amount of damages could amount to between three and four trillion euros. Degtyaryov noted that other countries, first of all the ex-Soviet republics such as Ukraine and Belarus, could join the process and demand compensation from Germany.

The plan has already received support from other Russian MPs even though they acknowledged that it would be difficult to make Germany pay. “The overall damages received in the war must be calculated. We must know the negative effect of the German aggression to USSR’s development including the non-renewable losses in human capital,” said the head of the Lower House Committee for Defense, MP Vladimir Komoyedov (Communist Party). Komoyedov also noted that the chances of winning were extremely low, but it was still necessary to remind people about history and Russia’s role in it.[…]”

Rewriting history? Polish FM says Ukrainians liberated Auschwitz, Russia puzzled…

http://rt.com/news/224891-poland-ukraine-liberated-auschwitz/

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Young survivors at the Auschwitz, liberated by the Red Army in January 1945 (Photo from wikipedia.org)

«The Polish Foreign Minister’s statement that it was the Ukrainians who liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp has puzzled Moscow. Russia’s UN envoy remarked that the Soviet Army, which liberated the camp, was actually multinational.
“The 1st Ukrainian front and Ukrainians liberated [the concentration camp], as on that January day there were Ukrainian soldiers, so they opened the gates of the camp,” said Foreign Minister of Poland, Grzegorz Schetyna, speaking on Polish radio on Wednesday.
Poland’s Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna […] was answering a question related to invitations to join the ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Red Army on January 27, 1945.
Following the comment, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin reminded Schetyna that the Soviet Army had liberated the concentration camp, adding that the front was called first Ukrainian “as it liberated Ukraine from the Nazis before reaching Poland through battles.”
“Like all other parts of the Red Army, [the front] was multinational and consisted of Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Georgians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, representatives of the peoples of Central Asia, and many others – more than 100 ethnic groups of the Soviet Union,” Churkin said addressing the Polish UN envoy, Bogusław Winid, speaking at the UN conference commemorating the liberation of the camp on Wednesday in New York.
Churkin urged Winid to explain the grave mistake to the Polish FM saying that: “I’m sure he didn’t intend to offend so many peoples.” Memory of WWII must be respected – Moscow “It is our common duty to the victims of genocide and future generations – to protect the truth about WWII,” said Churkin.
“Despite the shocking number of genocide victims, we see Waffen-SS veterans marching in European cities, which Nazis tried to demolish during at whatever cost. The Nazi past is being glorifies, neo-Nazism is on the rise,” he added.»

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Now, given both my ancestry and geo-political origins, I’m not a big fan of neither the former Soviet Union’s, nor of Russia’s political choices, but for correctness’ sake, here are some historical facts (and by-the-way, I absolutely agree with Vitaly Churkin’s statement above):

Ukrainian collaborationism with the Axis powers:

“During the military occupation of Ukraine by Nazi Germany, a large number of Ukrainians chose to cooperate with the Nazis. Reasons for this generally included resurgent Ukrainian nationalism, aspirations for Independence and widespread anger and resentment against the Russians over the Holodomor, which ocurred only a few years before. These were coupled with rampant racism towards other ethnic groups (such as Jews, Tatars, Roma peoples and Poles) as well as a prevailing sentiment of antisemitism. However, the absence of Ukrainian autonomy under the Nazis, mistreatment by the occupiers, and the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians as slave laborers, soon led to a rapid change in the attitude among the collaborators.
By the time the Red Army returned to Ukraine, a significant number of the population welcomed its soldiers as liberators. More than 4.5 million Ukrainians joined the Red Army to fight Nazi Germany, and more than 250,000 served in Soviet partisan paramilitary units.
[…] The atrocities against the Jewish population during the Holocaust started within a few days of the beginning of the Nazi occupation. There are indications that the Ukrainian auxiliary police was used in the round-up of Jews for the Babi Yar massacre and in other Ukrainian cities and towns, such as Stepan, Lviv, Lutsk, and Zhytomyr. On September 1, 1941, Nazi-controlled Ukrainian newspaper Volhyn wrote “The element that settled our cities (Jews)… must disappear completely from our cities. The Jewish problem is already in the process of being solved.”
Anti-semitism had turned to a hatred of Jews by those Ukrainians who blamed Jews that had worked for Polish landlords, alongside with religious prejudice. Also, the murders of prisoners by Soviet secret police retreating eastwards from the German invasion were blamed on Jews. These feelings fueled ultra-nationalist Ukrainian militias which accompanied Nazi armies moving in eastern Europe. The German commander gave an enraged crowd in Boryslaw – who had seen bodies of young men murdered (by the Soviets, not Jews) and laid out in the town square – 24 hours to act as they wished against the Jews – they were forced to clean the dead bodies, to dance, and then killed by beating with axes, pipes, etc. The same sort of murders took place in Brzezany. In Lviv, some 9,000 Jews were murdered by Ukrainian nationalist extremists. As late as 1945, Ukrainian nationalists were still rounding up and murdering Jews.
In May 2006, the Ukrainian newspaper Ukraine Christian News commented: “Carrying out the massacre was the Einsatzgruppe C, supported by members of a Waffen-SS battalion and units of the Ukrainian auxiliary police, under the general command of Friedrich Jeckeln. The participation of Ukrainian collaborators in these events, now documented and proven, is a matter of painful public debate in Ukraine.”.
While some of the collaborators were volunteers, others were no doubt given little choice. Ukrainians captured fighting for the Red Army were sometimes given the choice of possibly dying of near starvation and exposure in the ill-equipped POW camps reserved for the Red Army or working for the invaders as a hiwi, including duty in the concentration camps and ghettos as guards. The men selected for such duty were trained in the Trawniki concentration camp and were used in that part of the Final Solution known as Operation Reinhard. However, they were never fully trusted, and some would escape their enforced duty, sometimes along with the prisoners they were be guarding, and occasionally killing their SS commanders in the process.

Collaborationist organizations, political movements, individuals, and military volunteers:

109, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 201-st Ukrainian Schutzmannschaftant-battalions participated in anti-partisan operations in Ukraine and Belarus. In February and March 1943, the 50th Ukrainian Schutzmannschaftant-battalion participated in the large anti-guerrilla action «Operation Winterzauber» (Winter magic) in Belarus, cooperating with several Latvian and the 2nd Lithuanian battalion. Schuma-battalions burned down villages suspected of supporting Soviet partisans. On March 22, 194, all the inhabitants of the village Chatyń in Belarus were burnt alive by the Nazis, with participation of the 118th Schutzmannschaft battalion.

Ukrainian volunteers in the German armed forces:

    Nachtigall Battalion
    Roland Battalion
    Freiwilligen-Stamm-Regiment 3 & 4 (Russians & Ukrainians)

SS Division “Galizien”:

On 28 April 1943 the German Governor of District Galicia, Dr. Otto von Wächter, and the local Ukrainian administration officially declared the creation of the SS-Freiwilligen-Schützen-Division Galizien. Volunteers signed for service as of 3 June 1943 numbered 80 thousand. On 27 July 1944 the Galizien division was formed into the Waffen SS as 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (gal. Nr. 1).
The prevailing belief is that these men eagerly volunteered to take part in a patriotic war against the Soviets, not because of any support for Nazi Germany. Also, at least some of them were victims of compulsory conscription, since Germany had now suffered defeats and lost manpower on the eastern front. Sol Litman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center claims that there are many proven and documented incidents of atrocities and massacres committed by the Waffen-SS Galizien against minorities, particularly Jews during World War II. However other authors, including Michael Melnyk, and Michael O. Logusz, maintain that members of the division served almost entirely on the front lines against the Red Army and defend the unit against the accusations made by Litman and others. Official SS records show that the 4,5,6 and 7 SS-Freiwilligen regiments were under Ordnungspolizei command at the time of the accusations. Neither the division nor any of its former members were ever charged with any war crimes (see 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Ukrainian)#Accusations of war atrocities).”

So, who was “liberating” who!?