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Greek Antiquity Treasures Stolen by Nazis Returned by German Museum

It seems that Greece has much more unfinished business with Germany than we think, and not all of it is economic in nature, as a recent public announcement reveals.

According to a document from Dimitris Reppas, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, there still are some “pending” issues concerning antiquity treasures that were violently and illegally removed from Greece during the occupation years (1941-1944).

According to this document that was brought for examination to the Greek Parliament by Minister Reppas, the areas that were mostly damaged during the German occupation were Crete, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, the island of Samos and Thessaly.

In 2010 the Directorate for Documentation and Protection of Cultural Goods was informed by the officials of the Pfahlbaumuseum in Germany that a significant number of Greek archaeological objects originated from an illegal excavation in Thessaly are being kept in the museum’s rooms.

The Directorate immediately communicated with the Museum and the antiquities will be repatriated as soon as their registration is completed, as Mr. Reppas assured Greeks.

Part of the antiquities must have already been returned, as implied by the officials’ responses. Further confirmation is required for the whole items to be repatriated. A marble female statue of Philippi (stolen from the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki), signs from Amphipolis, and other valuable artifacts from various Greek cities seem to have particularly attracted the interest of Minister Reppas.

The Byzantine and Metabyzantine Ephorates have been informed and created a list with the monuments that suffered smugglings or destruction during 1941-1945.

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