Fed up with austerity, job losses, spending cuts and endless bad economic news, Greeks are increasingly blaming Germany for their problems and turning their anger towards the country.
According to a poll conducted by the Epikaria magazine, 71 percent of the Greek public dislike Germany, while almost one-third (32 percent) of respondents compared Berlin’s current fiscal policies with the Nazis, who brutally occupied Greece during World War II.
Only 8.6 percent of Greek hold a favorable view of the Germans (who, not coincidentally, happen to be Athens’ largest creditor).
The survey was conducted Feb. 10-13, a week prior to the euro zone’s approval of a 130 billion euro ($170 billion) bailout for Greece – a financial package for which the Greeks must pay dearly in terms of economic tightening and monitoring by foreign agencies, including the European Central Bank.
Recent negative comments about Greeks by some German officials, particularly Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, have exacerbated the ill feelings across Greece.
In response to Schaeuble’s comments that implied that Greeks were lazy and dishonest, President Karolos Papoulias replied: I will not accept my country to be disparaged by Mr. Schaeuble. Who is Mr. Schaeuble to disparage Greece?
Papoulias added that Greece always had the pride to defend not just our freedom, not just our country, but the freedom of Europe, in a sly reference to Greek resistance to the Nazis.
After World War II, tens of thousands of Greeks migrated to Germany for jobs during the postwar economic boom
But now Germany is looked upon as an invasive, domineering foreign force that has imposed itself upon the Greeks again.
According to Associated Press, anti-austerity demonstrations in Greece have included the burning of the German flag and verbal insults of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
During World War II Greece was occupied by both Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks died during the occupation, some from starvation, others at the hands of collaborators and Axis soldiers.