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Greece Just Told the Germans They Owe Them €278.8 Billion for Something the Nazis Did 70 Years Ago

Demonstrators in mock Nazi garb ride in a vehicle in Athens during a demonstration against the vist of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 9, 2012. Athens went into security lockdown for a landmark visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an austerity hate figure in Greece whose arrival will be greeted by union and opposition party protests. Thousands of police fanned out across the capital, creating a large safety zone for Merkel's meetings with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and President Carolos Papoulias in which all gatherings and protests have been banned. AFP PHOTO / MAX GYSELINCKMAX GYSELINCK/AFP/GettyImages ORG XMIT:

Strapped for cash and struggling to repay debts, the Greek government has demanded that Germany pay up for Nazi occupation.

Late Monday, the Greek deputy finance minister Dimitris Mardas told the German government Greece was demanding €278.8 billion ($304.8 billion) in reparations for World War II-era crimes, Der Spiegel reported.

That's a bigger sum than Greece's entire GDP — everything the Greek economy produces in a year.

Demonstrators in mock Nazi garb ride in a vehicle in Athens during a demonstration against the vist of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 9, 2012. Athens went into security lockdown for a landmark visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an austerity hate figure in Greece whose arrival will be greeted by union and opposition party protests. Thousands of police fanned out across the capital, creating a large safety zone for Merkel's meetings with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and President Carolos Papoulias in which all gatherings and protests have been banned. AFP PHOTO /  MAX GYSELINCKMAX GYSELINCK/AFP/GettyImages ORG XMIT: Demonstrators in mock Nazi garb ride in a vehicle in Athens during a demonstration against the vist of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 9, 2012. (Max Gyselinck/AFP/Getty Images)

The demand comes amid negotiations within Europe, as the Greeks struggle to repay their 2010 bailout and the far-left Greek government argues that economic "consequences" shouldn't apply to Greece.

According to Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, Greece should get essentially free money from Germany and other economically healthy northern European nations in the interest of "the common European good."

Germany is widely seen as the most forceful of the nations demanding that Greece maintain strict austerity rules in exchange for foreign bailouts.

As Deutsche Welle noted, Germany already paid Greece for Nazi-era crimes back in 1960 and the German government rejected the new demands.

Germany, Italy and Bulgaria occupied Greece between 1941 and 1944, and the Axis powers forced the Greeks to loan money at 0 percent interest and stole various works of art, but in 1960, West Germany settled the debt with a 115 million-deutschmark payment to Greece.

This story has been updated.

(H/T: Business Insider)

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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