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KfW Historical Group Archive

The Group Archive is the "memory of KfW". The archival material of KfW Group stretches a length of two kilometres - or 2,000 "running metres" of documents.

Handwritten note of the first Chairman of the Advisory Board Dr Otto Schniewind
Handwritten note of the first Chairman of the Advisory Board Dr Otto Schniewind (photo: Group Archive/photographer: Jan Zappner)

Since its founding in 1948, the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau - KfW - has developed into a significant factor of German economic policy. From its beginning as a specialised institution for financing the reconstruction of the young Federal Republic of Germany, over time the KfW Group emerged with diverse tasks in Germany and abroad.

The construction of a Historical Archive was started in 1974 in order to document the development of KfW, its tasks and activities over the changing course of time. The initial aim was to secure documents worthy of preservation from all areas of KfW and protect these from destruction. The systematic processing and categorisation of the collected documents began at the beginning of the 1990s, in the run-up to the 50-year celebration of KfW’s existence which took place in 1998.

In the process of the merger with the Staatsbank Berlin (the successor institution of the former State Bank of the GDR), the extensive and historically interesting collected material was taken up by the Historical Archive in October 1994. These include documents that reach far back to the time of the Weimar Republic. With the integration of the Deutschen Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) in 2001 and the merger with the Deutsche Ausgleichsbank (DtA) in 2003, the Historical Archive became the Group Archive of KfW Group.

Task

A database is available for researching and registering material.
A database is available for researching and registering material. (photo: Group Archive/photographer: Jan Zappner)

The Group Archive safeguards sources and documents which describe the development and activities of KfW through an historical cross-section. The Federal Archives Act of the Federal Republic of Germany provides the basis for the work of the Group Archive and is thus also part of the rules for the KfW archives. The Group Archive is the point of contact for queries concerning historical and scientific research, and other publication projects. Exhibit material is also available for subject-oriented events. The annual participation in the Heritage Days in Berlin is an integral part of the archive's public relations work.

Collections

Analogue and digital media are safeguarded in the Historial Group Archive.
Analogue and digital media are safeguarded in the Historial Group Archive. (photo: Group Archive/photographer: Jan Zappner)

The heart of the central historical collection consists of KfW's file archives including its mergers and subsidiaries. In addition there are published and unpublished KfW sources, over 30,000 photos and a comprehensive exhibit collection. This includes the complete collection of the posters promoting the Marshall Plan/European Recovery Program (ERP) as part of the 1950 poster competition for the economic recovery of Europe.

Another special feature is the numismatic collection. This was established by the State Bank of the GDR. It maintained a collection of all the currency units it issued as part of its function as the central bank for the currency region of the GDR.

A very special legacy - the State Bank of the GDR also left behind designs and tools for producing bank notes. (photo: Group Archive/photographer: Jan Zappner)

Unique here are the designs, stereo plates and test mintings of coins which were created before the issue of new coins. In addition, coins and bank notes received by the State Bank of the GDR in the process of exchanging currencies with eastern as well as western central banks have been preserved.

Access

Use of the Group Archive collection is possible with prior appointment. If you have any questions please contact us.

Contact

KfW Group

Konzernarchiv

Branch Berlin

Charlottenstraße 33/33a

10117 Berlin

Germany

eMail

historischesarchiv@kfw.de