By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) — The quotes coming out of Greece right now are scary, and telling.

According to Reuters the dysfunctional bailout negotiations between the Greeks and their European creditors have included a lot of trash-talk about the German occupation of Greece in World War II.

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A top Greek politician has called for the Germans to pay war reparations. One newspaper headline read: “Greece in Auschweitz, [Germans] seeking a holocaust in Europe.” And after the Prime Minister there cut his deal for new loans, his party’s spokesman said: “Germany…for a third time in 100 years is attempting to destroy Europe.”

These are tough times for the Greek people, no doubt about it.

But Germany holds only a fraction of the Greek debt – France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands are also on the hook. The comparison of Greece’s punishment for being a deadbeat with the Holocaust shows how angry they are – and also how European.

Every time I’m in Europe, I’m reminded of how close to the surface and raw their ugly past is. And World War II is just one of the more recent episodes – you don’t have to look far to find bitterness dating back centuries that still burns hot.

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They’ve had it rough in Europe. That’s why so many of us wound up being born here.

And it feels like one of our jobs as American citizens continues to be making sure that we don’t wind up like Europe, forever gouging at our eternally-festering grievances.

We need to get better at that – it took far too long for the confederate flag insult to be corrected. And any harassment of peaceful Muslim citizens is too much.

But let’s be glad most of us aren’t at each other’s throats every minute over the sins of the long departed.

Listen To Jon’s commentary: 

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Jon Keller