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German president seeks to lay war ghosts in Greece

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March 5, 2014 09:53 AM EST | AP


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Germany's president is due in Athens on a visit that will seek to lay some of the ghosts of a brutal Nazi occupation, amid renewed anti-German sentiment stoked by Greece's financial crisis.

Joachim Gauck's three-day visit will include a speech Friday where German army troops massacred 92 civilians near the northeastern town of Ioannina, and a meeting with the town's Jewish community.

In an interview with Greek Kathimerini daily published ahead if his arrival Wednesday, Gauck refused to discuss demands in Greece that Germany should pay reparations for World War II atrocities. He said Germany bears an undeniable "moral burden."

Germany rejected a demand last month by Greek Jews for compensation over a WWII ransom extracted to free Jewish slave laborers — who were subsequently murdered in Nazi death camps.