In Greece, old stereotypes about Germany are coming back with a vengeance.
A Greek newspaper upset over Angela Merkel’s handling of Greece’s debt crisis Thursday ran a Photoshopped image on its front page showing the chancellor in Nazi attire standing before a swastika.
The photo appeared just after the Greek government agreed to new austerity measures. The decision sparked protests and clashes with police in Athens as well as a 48-hour general strike. At the protests, Nazi flags were held high, German flags burned and swastikas displayed. The intense anti-German sentiment was clear.
Last week, associations representing doctors, lawyers and structural engineers met in Athens and decided on a boycott of products from Germany.
The financial crisis in Greece has pitted the small country against Germany. Germany refuses to sign off a bailout to help Greece out of its deep debt problems unless the Greek politicians agree to even further budgetary cuts in an already stricken economy.
And much of Greek furor is focused on Merkel. Popular Greek presenter Georgios Trangas has similarly referred to the chancellor as a Nazi, including on recent shows, German site Der Spiegel reports:
Trangas stared into the camera and turned to his favourite subject: the Germans, and how they are cold-bloodedly shoving Greece into the abyss. "Germany doesn't care that 3 million pensioners are dying here," he raged . . . Trangas rattles off statistics mixed with random references to the Nazi regime . . . On occasion, [he] is fond of displaying images of Merkel conflated with marching German soldiers from World War II.
Stathis Stavropoulos, the paper reports, a well-known Greek cartoonist, has also focused almost exclusively on Germans as a subject during the financial crisis.
“Of course I aim to shock people with my drawings,” Stavropoulos told Der Spiegel. He often depicts German leaders, including Merkel, in World War II uniforms. “But the initial agitation should be followed by reflection. That, at least, is my hope.”