Historians have uncovered evidence leading to the estimation that the Nazis' wartime confiscation of wealth from Europe's Jews financed about 30 percent of the expenditure of the German armed forces during WWII.

The official study of the German Finance Ministry under the Nazis from 1933 to 1945 was conducted by historian Hans-Peter Ullmann.

Last month a similar study of the German Foreign Ministry under the Nazis established that its diplomats and bureaucrats played a key role in the Holocaust.

Ullmann, a Cologne history professor, said the German Finance Ministry under the Nazis actively worked to "destroy Jews financially" and to loot wealth in the nations the Germans occupied.

Even Jews who managed to escape from Germany before the Holocaust had to leave part of their wealth behind in the form of an "exit tax." Tax laws discriminated against Jews from 1934 onwards.

The ministry raised money for the war effort through taxes, borrowing and "outright theft," Ullmann said.

The research began last year with a request to report back after three or four years.