The German fashion label Hugo Boss has apologised for using forced labourers during the Second World War, many of whom had been abducted.
The apology coincides with the publication of an official history, commissioned by the company, of its activities during the Hitler era, when it benefited from lucrative Nazi contracts.
One of the designer's first big assignments was to supply brown shirts to the Nazi Party, according to the book Hugo Boss: 1924-1945, written by Roman Köster, an economics historian. After the war, the fashion firm's founder claimed he maintained links with the Nazis only to save his business. But Mr Köster writes: "It is clear that Hugo F Boss did not only join the party because it led to contracts for uniform production, but also because he was a follower of National Socialism."
Mr Boss joined the Nazi Party in 1931 and began making uniforms for the Wehrmacht two years later, according to Mr Köster. By 1938, the business was focused exclusively on manufacturing for the military, using forced labour.
Hugo Boss first acknowledged its Nazi links in 1997. A statement on the company's website this week expressed "regret" for its actions during the Nazi period.
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