BERLIN - Germany's Finance Ministry has released the first part of an independent commission's investigation into its Nazi past, showing civil servants played an important role in Hitler's anti-Semitic agenda.
The book released Monday, "Bureaucracy and Crimes" by historian Christiane Kuller, concludes that the ministry played a key role in stripping Jews of their money and possessions.
In a presentation at the ministry — a Nazi-built building that served as Luftwaffe headquarters — Kuller said after the war the ministry's civil servants claimed they were only following rules and regulations they were given.
But she found the long-term employees used their knowledge with "high efficiency" to apply existing regulations "systematically in a racist way."
Historians began their work on the project in 2009, and more books are expected through 2016.