In 1941, Axis forces from Italy and Germany moved into Greece and seized control of the country. The wartime occupation lasted four years, during which some 250,000 Greeks perished. Many died slow and tortuous deaths — around 40,000 people starved to death in Athens alone.
To add insult to injury, Nazi forces removed valuable archaeological artefacts and forced the Bank of Greece to loan it money, totalling billions, in today’s terms, which Berlin never paid back.
On Monday, Athens formally requested wartime reparations from Germany and, for the first time, named its desired price: 279 billion euros ($303 billion), as calculated by Greece’s central accounting offices.
Perhaps coincidentally, that figure is rather similar to the total value of Greece’s existing state debt, at over 320 billon euros.