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IBM and the Holocaust

IBM and the Holocaust

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Published by stanculeanu

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: stanculeanu on Oct 27, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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IBM and the Holocaust is the stunning story of IBM's strategic alliance withNazi Germany - beginning in 1933 in the first weeks that Hitler came to powerand continuing well into World War II. As the Third Reich embarked upon itsplan of conquest and genocide, IBM and its subsidiaries helped create enablingtechnologies, step-by-step, from the identification and cataloging programs of the 1930s to the selections of the 1940s. Only after Jews were identified - amassive and complex task that Hitler wanted done immediately - could they betargeted for efficient asset confiscation, ghettoization, deportation, enslavedIabor, and, ultimately, annihilation. It was a cross-tabulation and organizationalchallenge so monumental, it called for a computer. Of course, in the 1930s nocomputer existed.But IBM's Hollerith punch card technology did exist. Aided by the company'scustom-designed and constantly updated Hollerith svstems, Hitler was able toautomate his persecution of the Jews. Historians have always been amazed atthe speed and accuracy with which the Nazis were able to identify and locateEuropean Jewry. Until now, the pieces of this puzzle have never been fullyassem-bled. The fact is, IBM technology was used to organize nearly everythingin Germany and then Nazi Europe, from the identification of the Jews incensuses, registrations, and ancestral tracing programs to the running of railroads and organiz-ing of concentration camp slave labor.IBM and its German subsidiary custom-designed complex solutions, one byone, anticipating the Reich's needs. They did not merely sell the machines andwalk away. Instead, IBM leased these machines for high fees and became thesole source of the billions of punch cards Hitler needed.IBM and the Holocaust takes you through the carefully crafted corporatecollusion with the Third Reich, as well as the structured deniability of oralagreements, undated letters, and the Geneva intermediaries—all undertaken asthe newspapers blazed with accounts ot persecution and destruction.Just as compelling is the human drama of one of our century's greatest minds,IBM founder Thomas Watson, who cooperated with the Nazis for the sake of profit.Only with IBM's technologic assistance was Hitler able to achieve thestaggering numbers of the Holocaust. Edwin Black has now uncovered one of the last great mysteries of Germany's war against the Jews - how did Hitler getthe names?
 What Reviewers Have Said AboutIBM AND THE HOLOCAUST
"An explosive new book. . . . Backed by exhaustive research, Black's case is simpleand stunning." —Michael Hirsh, Newsweek "Black's book is most interesting when he is dealing with Watson's stubborn and un-successful determination to continue in control of IBM's German operation withoutappearing to be doing so. He was able to cut off direct relations between IBM in theU.S. and the Germans while continuing to deal with them indirectly. He was a masterof subterfuge and made a fine art of being in a position to deny collaboration withthe Nazis while operating through subsidiaries who were responsive to his every wish.. . . And he never forbade them to supply IBM machines that were used in sendingpeople to camps, which they did." —Gordon A. Craig, New York Review of Books"Black establishes beyond dispute that IBM Hollerith machines significantly advancedNazi efforts to exterminate Jewry.... IBM and the Holocaust is a valuable contributionto our understanding of the Holocaust."—Christopher Simpson, Washington Post Book World"Black's study . . . contains a wealth of unknown or little-known details. The authorconvincingly shows the relendess efforts made by IBM to maximize profit by sellingits machines and its punch cards to a country whose criminal record would soon bewidely recognized." —Saul Friedlander, Los Angeles Times"IBM and the Holocaust is a disturbing book—all the more so because its authordoesn't prescribe what should be done about sins committed more than half a cen-tury ago. It is left to readers to decide." —Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune"Black's book is shocking. Its contents go against the grain of all that is dear to naiveimages of corporate America. . . . This book will be a case study in corporate ethicsfor years to come." —Robert Urekew, Midstream"IBM and the Holocaust is an ambitious book ... an important contribution to Holo-caust studies." —John Friedman, The Nation"The book adds much to our knowledge of the Holocaust and World War II. Black convincingly demonstrates the extent to which it [IBM technology], was central tothe operation of the Third Reich." —Terry W. Hartle, Christian Science Monitor"Black makes a case that shames the IBM of the mid-20th century.... There will be noquestion ... in the minds of readers that IBM officials had the ability to understandthe task their machines were performing. The book succeeds as a piece of excruciat-ingly documented journalism." —Karen Sandstrom, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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