Our news media currently bring up the probability of a Greek default. Sometimes, inspired by a deformed history of the Second World War, they also echo recriminations and claims against Germany, and even present Chancellor Angela Merkel in caricatures as a new Hitler. It therefore seems of interest to review an aspect of the behaviour, during that war, of Germany, occupying power, with regard to Greece, from which the Germans had chased out the British in April 1941.
The reality is that in the midst of the worldwide conflict, despite a partisan war and a maritime blockade enforced by the British, Germany sent Greece large quantities of gold in order to quell a catastrophic inflation and to stabilise the Greek currency, efforts that were not without success.
She also sent foodstuffs to Greece so as to stave off a threatening famine, as well as German export goods – and this despite the shortages the German people were beginning to suffer.
Through the intermediary of Sweden, a neutral country, she entered into contact with the British authorities, whom she in the end got to lift the blockade of Greek waters in favour of a Swedish ship loaded with German provisions, which was thus able, each month, to sail from Trieste or Venice and reach Piraeus, the port of Athens, without running the risk of being torpedoed.
At least Baron van Moyland, former Reich foreign secretary, recalled and declared as much to the judges at the Nuremberg tribunal on March 27, 1946, without being contradicted by the adversary.
(According to the official documents of the trial before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg: IMT, volume X, p. 119 and volume XI, p. 428-432; passages reproduced below.)