The Historical Institute of Deutsche Bank performs the closely allied functions of researching the history of the bank and looking after its historically important collections of source material.
The Historical Institute takes a critical look at Deutsche Bank's history, through its own research as well as research undertaken by independent scholars. Since 1961, the bank has maintained its own historical archive, and all material from the pre-1945 era is publicly accessible.
Since 1988, one of the focal points of the Historical Institute's research has been on the National Socialist period. A general summary of the history of the bank during the years 1933-1945 written by Harold James, Princeton University, was published in 1995 as a chapter of "The Deutsche Bank 1870-1995". In 2003, Harold James published a fully revised edition of this chapter in a new book with the title "The Nazi Dictatorship and the Deutsche Bank", which brings together all of the recent results in historical research.
This general presentation of the history of Deutsche Bank during the Nazi period was preceded by detailed studies, such as the examination of "Aryanization" and the Nazi Economic War Against the Jews (2001), also written by Harold James, and the report by Jonathan Steinberg, University of Pennsylvania, "The Deutsche Bank and its Gold Transactions during the Second World War" (1999).
In 2004, an extensive biography of Hermann Josef Abs (1901-1994), who was the bank's Spokesman of the management board for many years, was published in German by Lothar Gall, University of Frankfurt am Main. With discerning judgment, Gall dedicates special attention in this book to the years of the "Third Reich". A further biography about Deutsche Bank’s Spokesman Oscar Wassermann (1869-1934) was written by Avraham Barkai, University of Jerusalem, and came out in German in 2005.
Lothar Gall, Harold James, Jonathan Steinberg, Harold James, Avraham Barkai were all members (along with Gerald D. Feldman) of the historical commission appointed to examine the history of Deutsche Bank in the period of National Socialism set up in 1997.
Additional areas of research of the Historical Institute are the relations between banking and politics, the development of corporate culture and the history of Deutsche Bank in East Asia and North America.
Deutsche Bank's business in the USA – against the background of German-American financial and trade relations since 1870 – has been researched by the American business historian Christopher Kobrak from the European School of Management, Paris. The results of this extensive study were published in 2008: "Banking on Global Markets. Deutsche Bank and the United States 1870 to the Present".