Bunhill: 'Honest, no-holds-barred' history

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The Independent Online
IT'S HARD to believe that Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest bank and the proud owner of the merchant bank Morgan Grenfell in this country, is commissioning a pounds 400,000 'honest, no-holds-barred' history of itself.

For if ever a company needed a second closet for its skeletons, it is Deutsche, which helped finance the Nazis before and during the Second World War.

I don't suppose the authors will get much help from Hermann Abs, who was a director from 1938 and became chief executive after the war. Now 92, Abs was also on the supervisory board of IG Farben, the company that manufactured the infamous Zyklon B gas.

Tom Bower, the biographer of Robert Maxwell and Tiny Rowland, described in his 1980 book on the de-Nazification of Germany, Blind Eye To Murder, how the Americans wanted to prosecute Abs and other Deutsche directors for alleged war crimes but were dissuaded by the British.

That book caused humiliation for Andre Deutsch, its publisher, who was thrown out by a vengeful Abs from a party hosted by Deutsche Bank at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Bower tells me he thinks even now that the truth will not out. 'I really don't believe they will tell the true story of the Hitler period. It's a terrible story of banking immorality.'

(Photograph omitted)