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Research commissioned by Germany's Dresdner Bank AG has found that the bank once held a major stake in a company that helped build the Auschwitz death camp, a spokesman said Saturday.
The bank held a 26 percent stake in the company, Huta, spokesman Ulrich Porwollik said, confirming a report by the weekly Der Spiegel.
Historians also found that, starting in 1910, officials from the bank repeatedly headed Huta's supervisory board - "also at the relevant time," he added.
Porwollik said Dresdner Bank, now a unit of insurer Allianz AG, tasked historian Klaus-Dietmar Henke and other experts in 1998 with investigating the company's Nazi-era past. The historians were given wide-ranging access to the bank's archives.
Chief executive Herbert Walter said the research showed the bank's history in "an extremely critical light," Der Spiegel reported. "We must face this responsibility," he added.
Porwollik noted that Dresdner was a state-controlled bank at the time.
According to Der Spiegel, Huta built at least two of the crematoria at Auschwitz, located in Nazi-occupied Poland, as well as buildings for accommodation and delousing.
Dresdner Bank plans to present the full results of the historians' research on February 17.