The Vienna Philharmonic has revealed that almost half of its musicians were Nazis in the second world war after it sacked its Jewish members.
The orchestra has published research uncovered by a panel of historians from its archives.
In all, 60 of 123 orchestra members were members of the Nazi party in 1942, according to the report, released as Austria marks the 75th anniversary of the "Anschluss", the country's annexation by Adolf Hitler's Germany.
Only 10 Vienna Philharmonic players had to leave as a result of their Nazi affiliations after 1945. Two later returned.
The orchestra has kept silent about its Nazi past for decades. Its chairman, Clemens Hellsberg, chronicled many of the misdeeds in a 1992 history titled Democracy of Kings.
The report published yesterday, and supported by the orchestra, was the work of a panel led by Oliver Rathkolb, a professor of history at the University of Vienna.
All of the orchestra's Jewish musicians were dismissed in 1938. Five died in concentration camps; one died after being thrown out of his apartment, and another before being deported. Some managed to escape.
The panel's research also revealed that Wilhelm Jerger, a member of the Nazi party and the SS and the executive director of the orchestra, rescued the Jewish first violinist, Josef Geringer, from Dachau concentration camp. But Jerger failed to protect five more orchestra members from deportation.
Another case analysed by the historians was the one of trumpet player Helmut Wobisch, who joined the Nazi party in 1933 and the SS in 1934. During the war, he produced reports on people in the music scene for the Nazi intelligence service. He was fired in 1945 only to return two years later as first trumpeter, becoming director of the orchestra in 1953.
Wobisch successfully hid his Nazi past during the process of denazification, "even making use of Jewish musicians such as the well-known conductor Leonard Bernstein", the report says. Witnesses reported the conductor once calling Wobisch "my dearest Nazi".
The orchestra also allowed itself to be used for Nazi propaganda purposes, according to archive material in a documentary about the historians' findings to be broadcast on Austrian television channel ORF tomorrow. Pictures show the Vienna Philharmonic, under Wilhelm Furtwaengler, playing in a Berlin armaments factory. Two swastika banners hang behind.
The orchestra will publish the full findings on its website today.
Asked on Sunday why it had taken so long to come to this point, Hellsberg said the orchestra had been quietly working through its history for decades, and now realised it needed to give a proper account of itself online.
"I grew up in a different time, when the book was the most significant medium, but one has to live with the fact that the internet is a different medium … where we have to represent ourselves."
Additional reporting by Reuters