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IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation Hardcover – Large Print, February 20, 2001
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and aware of IBM's general history, I was very surprised when I first heard that the tattooed numbers on holocaust
victims' arms were ID numbers used in IBM data bases (based on punched cards, not full-purpose computers).
That revelation eventually led me to this book, which is THE book on the subject; no others even come close.
The author of this book - himself the son of two holocaust survivors - was also unaware of this connection as a boy
when his parents took him to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in New York City, where a German IBM card punch
machine was positioned at the entrance to the museum, with no indication of its far-reaching usage by the Third Reich.
As an adult, Black researched this connection and found an amazing absence of information everywhere about it,
even among organizations and individuals who had done deep research into all aspects of the holocaust.
Black decided to expose the whole intimate complicity of IBM's revered president J D Watson with the Third Reich,
assisting Hitler in carrying out the business end of his mass imprisonments, slave-laboring and exterminations.
Despite the complete lack of cooperation from IBM in opening their files (to this date), Black went to other sources,
scattered all over Europe and the USA, to root out and correlate 20000 documents that, individually, seem almost routine,
but when arranged chronologically and correlated together, constitute an unassailable, damning testimony against Watson.
The unbelievable amount of time, travel, correspondence, and volunteer work involved spanned several years.
The author is painstakingly careful about quoting directly from actual source documents, so that denial is utterly futile.
It worked - IBM has never attempted to sue Black for libel, slander, fraud, etc, and avoided public comments as much as possible..
I now mention the topic and the book whenever I meet any other tech people in the SF area, who are still uniformly unaware of it.
I perceive that IBM could offer a valid justification that IBM punch cards were just that ("international business machines"),
and that prosecuting IBM for war crimes would be as unjust as prosecuting Underwood for selling typewriters to the Third Reich.
IBM was not selling Zyklon B, or secrets. or munitions materials - what's the problem?
But IBM knows that its deafening silence is its best strategy - if people start asking questions, Black's book is waiting for them.
Having recently read Black's entire book, I can offer my personal assessment of three relevant Wikipedia articles as of 06/17/2017.
Wikipedia article "IBM and the Holocaust" is a good summary of Black's book, but still hedges at several places, with phrases like
"Black argues", "Black asserts", "Black demonstrates", "Black reports", and "Black charges".
The Wikipedia article on "History of IBM" paints an innocent picture of Watson, but does close with a paragraph on Black's book,
although the final sentence deceptively implies Black says that IBM's complicity ended with the US declaration of war. He doesn't.
The Wikipedia article on "IBM" reduces IBM's involvement with the Third Reich to half of one sentence.
IBM's involvement in the holocaust is a towering example of the dark side of "business as usual" in America. Read it.
As long as there was money to be made these heartless people cared nothing at all for the sad fate of millions of murdered people-Jews, and anyone who opposed the Nazi machine. My Dad helped shut down one concentration camp-the people in the town had looked the other way as the Nazi criminals had carried out their plans. This book is all about looking the other way.
Someone once remarked to me that if corporations were people they would be psychopaths, and I could surely agree in this case. Sickening!
Thomas Watson was such a person. He was the president of IBM, and continued operations in Nazi Germany, throughout the war, using deceptive accounting and other ruses to hide this fact. The facts are, that the tabulating machines that IBM owned and sold and serviced, were used to do the census in Germany and subsequently in all the countries that became part of the Greater Reich, after they were overrun by the Nazis. The census was how they knew who and where the Jews were. They pinpointed them with ease, and then used these same machines, again owned and serviced by IBM, to efficiently move them to concentration camps or slave labor camps by trains organized and scheduled with utmost efficiency. There acts were treasonous, as they were aiding the enemy! They were never charged, though they were investigated, because IBM was playing both sides, ingratiating themselves with the war efforts on this side of the Atlantic. They did not care where or how their money was made, or who from. They wanted more. I am ashamed of this "American" company.
This story troubles me when thinking about how long governments and corportions have been gathering information about us. For over a century. The results can be devastating. I think of all the information the NSA has been collecting about us, and don't find it difficult to imagine that it would be used against us. When George Orwell wrote 1984, and talked about Big Brother, he was warning us about information technology run amok! It happened before, and it can happen again. This gives me a chill!
This was an excellent read, my only criticism being the amount of material and detail which can be daunting. Nonetheless I believe it is a 5 star read.