Distomo village, Greece, Nazi
A general view of Distomo village in central Greece, scene of a World War II Nazi atrocity. Photo by AP
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Greece will support a claim for compensation from Germany for a World War II massacre by Nazis, the prime minister said Wednesday.

Residents of the village of Distomo, in central Greece, have won a battle in Italian courts for compensation from Germany, joining Italian plaintiffs seeking similar damages.

Nazi troops executed 214 civilians on June 10, 1944 in Distomo, in one of the worst World War II atrocities in occupied Greece.

Germany argues it settled reparation cases in postwar agreements and has taken the issue to the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands. Last year, the court set a Jan. 14 deadline for Italy and Germany to provide further details of their positions.

Prime Minister George Papandreou said Greece's decision to back Italy's position honors the memory of those sacrificed for their country.

All our actions are intended to serve our national interests, Papandreou said. We are all aware of how serious and important this issue is, and of its special symbolism.

Survivors and relatives of the victims in Distomo won a compensation award in Greek courts 10 years ago, but the government refused to approve the sale of German state properties to execute the sentence, arguing that it could harm bilateral relations.

The plaintiffs then successfully took their case to Italy, making a legal claim to a German-owned villa near Lake Como which serves as a cultural center.

Hundreds of thousands of Greek civilians died of famine during the 1941-1944 Nazi occupation, and thousands were executed in reprisals for acts of resistance.