Dresdner Bank

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Dresdner Bank AG was one of Germany's largest banking corporations and was based in Frankfurt. It was formed in 1872, and bought by competitor Commerzbank in December 2009.

History[change | edit source]

Dresdner Bank was established in 1872. It moved its headquarters to Berlin in 1884, although its registered office stayed in Dresden until 1950.

By 1900, Dresdner Bank had the largest German branch network. During the First World War, the London branch was forced to close; however, the overall branch network expanded.

After the banking crisis in 1931 the Weimar Republic owned 66% Dresdner Bank shares. Its deputy director was Dr Schacht, Minister of Economy under Nazism. The Bank was reprivatised in 1937.

During World War II, Dresdner Bank controlled various banks in countries under German occupation.

The introduction of the Deutsche Mark in 1948 helped return banking to normality.

Dresdner Bank expanded its network with acquisition and opening new offices not only in Europe but also in the United States, Singapore, Canada, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and China. Dresdner Bank was the first to open its own office in former East Germany in Dresden in 2 January 1990.

In 2002 Dresdner Bank became a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance corporation Allianz. Allianz sold Dresdner Bank, which was legally merged with Commerzbank on 11 May 2009 and ceased to be an independent company.[1]

Controversies[change | edit source]

Hitler's Germany[change | edit source]

Dresdner Bank was known as the bank of choice for Heinrich Himmler's SS.[2]

The bank took part early on in the Third Reich's policy of confiscating Jewish property and wealth.[2] The bank helped to finance concentration camps, including Auschwitz.[3]

The bank was closely involved in the occupation of Europe, "essentially acting as the bank of the SS in Poland".[2]

Matthias Warnig's involvement[change | edit source]

Dresdner Bank attempted to get a banking operating licence in Saint Petersburg, where former KGB agent Vladimir Putin was in charge of foreign economic relations. Dresdner Bank appointed Matthias Warnig, a former Stasi agent and Vladimir Putin's former KGB contact[source?], to negotiate with Putin. The office was opened in 1991.[4][5] Warnig became Chairman of the Board of Directors of Dresdner Bank ZAO, Dresdner Bank Russian subsidiary.

The bank has had a lucrative business relationship with Gazprom and the state oil company Rosneft. The bank was also involved in the controversial[source?] forced sale of Yukos assets.[6]

References[change | edit source]

  1. Dresdner Bank Facts and Figures
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Hitler's Willing Bankers Spiegel Online International
  3. Report: German Bank Helped Build Auschwitz Deutsche Welle
  4. Seduced by secrets: inside the Stasi's spy-tech world, Kristie Macrakis
  5. Report Links Putin to Dresdner St. Petersburg Times
  6. Nord Stream, Matthias Warnig (codename "Arthur") and the Gazprom Lobby Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 114