Historians tracing the origin of gold bars traded by Deutsche Bank during the Nazi era confirmed Friday that the bank profited from gold plundered from Holocaust victims.
The historians were unable to determine with certainty whether bank executives knew that some of the gold purchased from the Reichs-bank, the Nazi central bank, came directly from Jews sent to concentration camps.However, they said it is "likely" that top officials of Deutsche Bank, now Germany's biggest private bank, were aware of the origins of some of the gold.
The leader of Germany's Jewish community, Ignatz Bubis, said the conclusion could have been more strongly worded.
"The people at the top, I think, all knew where the gold came from," Bubis said. "There was a conspiracy of silence."
German television reported in December the bank had bought gold stolen from Jews.
Deutsche Bank said at that time it was unaware of the trading and announced it had commissioned five historians from Israel, Germany, the United States and Britain to research the origin of gold it bought during World War II.
Separately, Deutsche Bank was named in a lawsuit filed June 3 in New York on behalf of 10,000 Holocaust survivors and victims' relatives. That lawsuit says Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank profited from looting personal property from Jewish Holocaust victims.
Most Western nations agree the Nazis stole assets of Holocaust victims and used them to finance the war effort. The issue began attracting more attention recently after the same groups accused Switzerland of using its famous bank secrecy laws to prevent the heirs of Holocaust victims from tracking their inheritances.