Many people in Germany see Greece only as a holiday destination and the Greek hospitality attracts thousands of German tourists every year. But most of them, however, do not know:
During the German occupation of Greece between 1941 and 1944, about one-tenth of the
Greek people were murdered. The plundering of the country led to a terrible Famine.
Hundreds of villages were destroyed in arbitrary retaliation, wiped out their population. The country’s Jewish communities were robbed, their members forced into hard labor and almost 90% of Greek Jews were deported to extermination camps and killed.
Aktion Sühnezeichen has always been committed since its beginnings against forgetting and
for a recognition of Germany’s war guilt towards Greece. The main focus lays on the encounters with people in Greece, who still economically and mentally suffer with the consequences of the murderous occupation.
Already in the 1960s the first work assignments of Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste took place in the martyr communities of Kándanos and Livadás (Crete) and Sérvia (West Macedonia).
These first contacts led to many important relationships and friendships, so that, over the years, exchange programmes (between Wolfsburg and Kalavryta) and various summer camps could be organised. In addition, Aktion Suehnezeichen has been cooperating with the Orthodox Academy of Crete for a long time now.
Since January 2019 Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste supports the demands of the association
“Respect for Greece” on “German War Guilt and Obligations to Greece”. The full text of the declaration can be found here: www.asf-ev.de/respekt-fuer-griechenland
In September 2021, Aktion Suehnezeichen Friedensdienste finally started a long-term project
Volunteer programme in Greece. As a cooperation partner on the Greek side, the FILOXENIA association (https://filox.org) supports the development of the programme. The first five volunteers were sent from Germany to Greece in September 2021 and we plan to further expand the projects in the following years.
The development of this programme is supported by funds from the German-Greek Future Fund.