Germany returns for the first time, in 2013, archaeological antiquities stolen from Greece in 1941

1 Jun

One of the many unknown aspects of the German occupation, was not only the cruelty and systematic killings of civilians in occupied countries, but the theft of feeds and property of those countries, regardless if the occupied population was dying of hunger.

   Even clothes removed Jewish children (and all their families) before killing them, were send to Germany for German children.

   The incredible thing is that this is the first return of stolen goods to Greece. Remember that we are in the XXI century.

   Germany has a lot to give back to many countries yet.


The Greek Ministry of Culture has announced that German Museum authorities Pfahlbaunmeseum returned to Greece next month 8,000 Neolithic pottery fragments. These fragments of vases and other containers from illegal archaeological excavation took place in 1941 in an area near Velestino, in Thessaly (central Greece) and were exported illegally to Germany this year. It will be the first time that Germany return antiquities stolen during World War II.


During 2010, the Office of Greek Cultural Property Protection was informed by the responsible scientist Pfahlbaumeseum in museum stores were kept antiques from this excavation, he had discovered a Neolithic settlement in Thessaly. The ministry responded immediately and has been officially confirmed the arrival of antiques this June. The Greek Directorate of Antiquities in turn has brought all the information and evidence on cultural objects and archaeological treasures were stolen during the German occupation.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a written response addressed to the Conservative MP Lefteris Avgenaki clarified that the issue of the restitution of cultural property illegally exported Greek is included in the claims of Greece against Germany for its occupation during the Second World War. Greece not only had many deaths due to the war and especially the German reprisals against the civilian population (elderly women and children). It also suffered from the looting of food (including large amounts of food requisionados and exported olive oil, leather, snuff, cotton) and prohibitions that caused the starvation of over 300,000 people. And are incalculable damage caused by the destruction and looting of museums and private collections, libraries and other cultural institutions during the German occupation immediately after the Italian occupation.

The Greek Culture Ministry together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working hard to get the signature of bilateral agreements with many countries, thus achieving the protection of cultural property and prevent illegal trade. Cooperation agreements exist with Switzerland (country used by many international traders illegal works of art), China, the U.S. and Turkey recently.


original article ( in spanish )


2 Responses to “Germany returns for the first time, in 2013, archaeological antiquities stolen from Greece in 1941”

  1. Marla Russo June 25, 2013 at 4:39 am #

    When the occupation zones were drawn up, Thessaloniki passed under German control. Thrace passed under Bulgarian control. Despite initial assurances to the contrary, the Nazis and Bulgarians gradually imposed a series of anti-Jewish measures. Jewish newspapers were closed down, local anti-Semites were encouraged to post anti-Jewish notices around the cities, Jews in the German and Bulgarian zones were forced to wear the Star of David so they could be easily identified and further isolated from the rest of the Greeks. Jewish families were kicked out of their homes and arrested while the Nazi-controlled press turned public opinion against them. By December 1942, the Germans began to demolish the old Jewish cemetery in Thessaloniki so the ancient tombstones could be used as building material for sidewalks and walls.

    • Holocaust and WWII in the East October 30, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

      I think I repy you before, but if I didn´t it , thanks a lot for your useful information. The persecution of Thesasaloniki Jews is another unknown chapter of Holacaust.

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