IN RECENT YEARS, as tensions between Athens and Berlin over the former’s debt crisis have deepened, Germany’s past was staged not only on the streets of Greece, where portraits of Chancellor Merkel and Finance Minister Schäuble, rendered as Nazis, decorated demonstration posters. Under the shadow of sour negotiations, the Greek government announced it would seek 162 billion euros in damages from Germany over unpaid WWII reparations and a forced war-time loan. Later, citing a figure of 341 billion euros, Justice Minister Paraskevopoulos raised the possibility of property seizures should Germany fail to respect its alleged obligations. Prime Minister Tsipras and other prominent politicians spoke of “an open wound” and a “moral issue.” For the most part, Berlin and German media hit back with anger and denial, some complaining about “moral blackmail.” Germany’s debts and reparations have been legally, politically, and definitively resolved during its reunification, Merkel insisted; 1989, we see once more, continued to re-sequence history and signal a new “Stunde Null” and a new national project....
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