IBM and the Holocaust Banner

Historians

A SHOCKING CONCLUSION. Edwin Black has put together an impressive array of facts which result in a shocking conclusion never realized before: IBM collaborated with the Third Reich. IBM and the Holocaust should be read by everyone interested in the "hidden history" of the Second World War.
TREMENDOUS. IBM and the Holocaust is a tremendous, timely work. Neglected for more than 50 years, the sordid records disclosing IBM's collaboration with the Nazi regime, in pursuit of market monopoly, have now been exhumed by Edwin Black. His comprehensive and detailed account shows how the blessings of punch card technology can become a curse to human rights, as it did in enabling the Holocaust.
GROUNDBREAKING. Edwin Black's groundbreaking book, IBM and the Holocaust, made a great impression on me. It documents, for the first time that an American company, IBM, bears a good deal of the moral responsibility for the preparation of the persecution of the Nazi victims. IBM and the Holocaust confirms the belief that the Holocaust was not only a cruel, unprecedented crime, but also an enormous bureaucratic undertaking.
MONUMENTAL. In his book IBM and the Holocaust, Edwin Black now has given Holocaust history an extraordinary new dimension. Clearly, the destruction of six million Jewish lives, and countless non-Jews, could not have been possible without IBM's Hollerith machines. Nor could the Third Reich have perfected the roundup of Jews throughout Europe, their deportation to concentration camps, and the statistics that measured their agonies in the Final Solution without custom-designed IBM equipment. Black has crafted a monumental history.
IMPRESSIVE. Edwin Black's research has produced an impressive study. All of us interested in secret, heretofore unknown records on WWII, should learn from Black's work how much more could be revealed. IBM and the Holocaust shows us how little we were informed about aspects of the Holocaust we thought we knew everything about--and how far human beings on the Allied side could go to make a profit.
EXTRAORDINARY. RELIABLE. Edwin Black, in his major new book IBM and the Holocaust, extensively and in great detail proves that International Business Machines is a true master of elimination, deception, and cover-up action . . . Even if at the present time, Edwin Black is the only historian who possesses an overview of these relevant and specific sources, one has to come to the conclusion that the argumentation and reasoning in IBM and the Holocaust is convincing. Indeed, Edwin Black has written an extraordinarily instructive and reliable book.
A WEALTH OF DETAILS. A wealth of unknown or little-known details. The author convincingly shows the relentless efforts made by IBM to maximize profit selling machines and punch cards to a country whose criminal record would soon be widely recognized. Indeed, Black demonstrates with great precision that the godlike owner of the corporation, Thomas Watson, was impervious to the moral dimension of his dealings with Hitler's Germany and for years even had a soft spot for the Nazi regime…He didn't desist even when it became clear that IBM's system was helping the regime to register its victims.
SHOCKING TRUTH. Black's book supplies revelations about how the world's foremost computer corporation. For many people, the shocking truth of IBM and the Holocaust will be hard to accept. Understandably, the average reader, to whom this book is addressed, may not be able to absorb such huge doses of frightening information presented in so overwhelming a treatment...In more than 500 pages, the author tracks IBM's strictly commercial cooperation with Nazi Germany. Clearly, IBM's history joined with the politics of Third Reich at a crucial juncture. New technologies produced by IBM were especially suited to the needs of Germany--not just its industrial and financial circles, but also its anti-Jewish campaign. The author never advances the thesis that IBM is responsible for the Holocaust, only that IBM has facilitated and accelerated that tragedy to a great extent. IBM and the Holocaust is an amazing book, which will touch, move, and change everyone's point of view.
ASTONISHING. AMAZING. This is an astonishing journalistic scoop and a piercing historical account: full of unknown details and amazing revelations. IBM and the Holocaust shows how the Nazi regime was able to draw immense benefit from what was the latest achievement in punch card technology by establishing a strictly business relationship with the leading company in this field. Black's central thesis that the registration and ensuing deportation of Jews was considerably facilitated by the use of Hollerith machines deserves our close attention. Perhaps the Nazis would have achieved their terrible goal "just as well with a piece of paper and a pen," as Raul Hilberg says, but no one should doubt that the availability of data information based on modern technology has--as the case of the Netherlands convincingly proves--contributed significantly to the amount of persecution and destruction of European Jews.
MASTERFULLY EXPOSED. A Roman Emperor defended the imperial monopoly on public toilets with the observation that 'gold doesn't stink.' Edwin Black's book, IBM and the Holocaust demonstrates that a company with its own imperial ambitions, IBM, fully shared this sentiment. Even as the shadows of political and racial persecution, and imminent war loomed over Germany, IBM remained an enthusiastic business partner of the Reich. Even more, IBM provided the technology that made possible many of the worst excesses of the Reich. Many of Jewish victims of the Holocaust owed their fate to the punch cards and tabulating machines which the company willingly supplied the Nazi regime. At the end of the war, IBM could honestly declare, in the words of many a guilty German, 'we were only following orders.' Black has masterfully exposed it all.
THRILLING. Edwin Black's book, IBM and the Holocaust, is a well-researched and thrilling study of an entire company's connection to the perverted Nazi process. With a great dramatic outline, Black does not shy away from what has been until now the sketchiest details of the evolution of the Third Reich and its race politics. At the same time, Black documents the tragedy of an IBM management ... consciously placing the technical means and methods at the disposal of the Nazi leadership and its bureaucracy, supporting the Blitzkrieg as well as the massive annihilation of individuals by hard labor and outright murder. Black's last chapter makes clear that after the war, IBM's corporate identity was unfazed despite the dealings of the American management and its European subsidiaries with the Third Reich. Certainly, many questions must now be answered.
FRIGHTENING. There has been a long-time need for scholars and journalists to take a hard, detailed, and fair look at the relationship between American corporations and the Nazis. Edwin Black has done this for one major American corporation--IBM. Piece of evidence by piece of evidence, Black pulls together information from disparate archival sources to weave his story of the Nazis relying on IBM to assist them in a variety of ways, including implementing the Final Solution. The story is both fascinating and frightening and raises questions about corporate profits at the expense of moral decision-making. The book also helps us better understand the mechanics of the Holocaust and reminds us the machinery of death oftentimes involves machinery itself.
APPALLED. SORDID. I am appalled. The sordid details of the Holocaust seem never to end. Edwin Black has now provided us with evidence of yet more complicity by the giants of industry--this time International Business Machines. Not only did this mighty organization unhesitatingly place monetary gain above human life and dignity, but the technology it provided made the very machinery of Nazism, and the genocide of millions of Jews, Roma and others, possible. The horrors of the Third Reich continue to haunt us into the twenty-first century. Edwin Black is to be thoroughly commended for bringing this new information to the world's attention in his book, IBM and the Holocaust. I wait now with interest to see how IBM will respond to these facts-which it has clearly wished to conceal.
CHILLING. AWESOME. In this carefully researched, yet chilling book, Edwin Black relates how the corporate and technological zeal of IBM, and its CEO, Thomas J. Watson, contributed step-by-step to Nazi power, and advanced the Holocaust. One can only wonder how different the number of Holocaust deaths might have been throughout Europe had Hitler not enjoyed the strategic services of IBM and its punch card technology. This book is an awesome warning for the future.
COMPELLING. IBM and the Holocaust is a compelling story based on exhaustive research which exposes the dealings of a major US corporation with Nazi Germany. This study will undoubtedly add a whole new dimension to discussions about economic relations between supposed enemies, and raise further questions about the wartime activities of capitalist enterprises, the pursuit of profit at all costs and their involvement in the criminal activities of the Third Reich.
STARTLING. Better than the prosecutors at the Nuremberg Trials, Edwin Black's book, IBM and the Holocaust, constructs a thoroughly documented and incontrovertible case against IBM's participation in making the Holocaust happen. The long suppressed story is now out, but the danger to all of us has amplified geometrically. If the primitive computers of the 1940s could serve as vital weapons in the Nazi's war against the Allies and against the Jews, what are today's computers capable of doing? Black's startling revelations of the past have a poignant message for both the present and the future.
BEYOND DISPUTE. Black clearly demonstrates that Nazi Germany employed IBM Hollerith punch-card machines to perform critical tasks in carrying out the Holocaust and the German war effort. He goes on to document that IBM managed to profit from Hitler's state throughout its existence. ...Black establishes beyond dispute that IBM Hollerith machines significantly advanced Nazi efforts to exterminate Jewry. ... IBM and the Holocaust is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust.
UNKNOWN. SHOCKING. IBM and the Holocaust is a bewildering, startling and appalling historical document. Black meticulously unravels the role IBM, modern technology and data registration played in the history of the Holocaust--until now, an unknown history. IBM and its subsidiaries knowingly and substantially helped Hitler realize his inconceivable goal of destroying the Jewish people. Cooperation in a perfect registration in wartime, such as in occupied Netherlands, or carrying out a census, had far-reaching consequences. Hence, Black's book presents not just an unknown and shocking side of how the destruction of the Jews took place, it also shows the more than objectionable economic collaboration of a multinational, now everywhere a respected company. This book is an eye-opener that will make people think. Black is not just a gifted researcher and writer, but above all a good investigator of history.
BONE-CHILLING. Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust is a meticulously researched indictment of corporate greed. Black's ability to synthesize scattered bits of data buried in archives and repositories on both sides of the Atlantic, and bring them into a unified focus, makes this masterful study a new standard for Holocaust scholarship. Black' formidable mountain of coherent evidence argues convincingly for IBM's complicity in the Holocaust. Indeed, this bone-chilling account, which reads like a murder mystery, has raised the bar for what will be expected in the future for this kind of research. IBM will be dogged by this book for as long as it remains a corporate presence. IBM and the Holocaust documents a classic case study of corporate social irresponsibility, and reckless pursuit of profits with no regard for human consequences. Edwin Black has given us all cause to speculate whether or not the most egregious war criminals were indeed ever prosecuted.
THE FIRST. Edwin Black has written the first in-depth study of a serious and important topic, exploring the connections between IBM and the Third Reich. In a well-written and thought-provoking study, he opens new and old historical debates regarding cooperation and collaboration with Hitler and the Nazi bureaucracy. In doing so, he delivers a significant historical and moral message to his readers, while exposing fertile ground for further research regarding the role played by international corporations and information technology during the entire Nazi era.
UNCOVERED EVIL. IBM and the Holocaust is an important book not just because it uncovers a long-hidden aspect of the Holocaust--the information technology and corporate connections that made it possible for the Nazis to identify and murder Jews--but also as a reminder to everyone who works with computers today that technology can be, and has been, put to evil ends. No one who reads Edwin Black's book will be able to forget that technological prowess and corporate loyalty must always be accompanied by constant concern for ethics and social responsibility.
PRODIGIOUS. Black … was moved to write this important book to answer questions that have eluded historians of the Nazi genocide. … How are we to account for the methodical manner in which the Nazis were able to implement the Holocaust? … Black's account of the complicity of IBM in the "Final Solution" provides us with perspective on the Nazi genocide that departs from most other accounts of the Holocaust. Whereas much of the scholarship on the Holocaust focuses on anti-Semitism and the role that Nazi racist ideology played in bringing about the slaughter of the Jews, Black argues that the efficient manner in which Hitler's Germany was able to bring about the Holocaust was due to technical support provided by IBM. This work of prodigious research helps us to understand a previously ignored factor in comprehending the Holocaust, the profit motive.
PATHBREAKING. IBM and the Holocaust is an important and path-breaking book. Edwin Black is the first to recount the full scope of IBM's many entanglements with the Nazi regime: its efforts to remain in Hitler's good graces despite his escalating persecutions of German Jews; IBM's efforts to retain control over its German subsidiary, Dehomag; and the corporation's campaign to preserve a near-monopoly over tabulation technology in Europe well after the outbreak of war in 1939. Just as important, Black exposes the many ways in which Nazi authorities abused Hollerith technology to facilitate the destruction of European Jewry-from the tabulation of racial census data to the exploitation of concentration camp prisoners and "Extermination through Work."
METICULOUS. Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust is a thoroughly researched, meticulously documented history of the relationship of a corporate giant and the advanced technology it sold to the Third Reich, its war effort, and its plan to exterminate the Jews. The author's decision to explore as well IBM's contribution to the US war effort and the story of the recovery of IBM assets in the aftermath of the war insures the objectivity of the work. Black's volume raises serious questions about the role of large international corporations in making possible, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the Holocaust and the destruction of Europe in World War II. The ethical question this book raises will spark heated debate, and it is sure to lead to a spate of volumes on those American owned businesses that indirectly did business with the Axis powers.
OVERWHELMING. In meticulous and thoughtful detail, Edwin Black has once again accomplished an incredible job of researching an important and unexplored dimension of the Holocaust. IBM and the Holocaust exposes a whole new facet never before considered which will fundamentally change and determine our perception of how the Holocaust occurred, and how it was executed. The overwhelming attention paid to detail by the author is what makes this book so credible. The writing produces a very readable story of how technology and business interests, devoid of any sense of morality or decency, combined with a sinister political regime to annihilate the Jewish people. Edwin Black's work is an extraordinary contribution that will make other Holocaust investigations pale in comparison.
REMARKABLE. Edwin Black renders a remarkable service by documenting in extraordinary detail the cynical and venal actions of IBM in placing punch card technology, the precursor of computers, in the service of the Nazis. Motivated by greed and profit, with no consideration of the moral implications, IBM in effect contributed to the successes of the other victims. These significant issues should have been raised during the war crimes proceedings.
A MASTERPIECE. Edwin Black has written a masterpiece in IBM and the Holocaust. His superbly documented investigation uncovers one of the most tragic examples in history of placing profit above morality-supplying Hitler with data services for the Holocaust. If this had been known during the Nuremberg trials, it would have been referred for consideration as a corporate war crime prosecution.
A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. Black’s portrayal deserves to be taken seriously…. Obviously, Black does not imply that the Holocaust would not have happened without Hollerith. Instead, his book points out a hardly discussed aspect of this crime against humanity: he shows that this had been an immensely diverse organizational task assisted to a great degree by IBM’s technological possibilities.
REQUIRED READING. IBM's 2000 Annual Report has on its cover page the following statement: "You're one-page away from the no-holds-barred story of one year in the life of a company. It's the story of big battles, stinging defeats, and gritty comebacks. Unexpected alliances, daring forays, and game-changing discoveries." Although those who came up with those lines surely would not have linked them to any scholarly work remotely critical of IBM, they fit, most ironically, Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust. His book should be required reading not only for all Holocaust scholars but also for those contemporary celebrants of computerized access to information as a virtue in itself, little short of technological utopia.
SPLENDID. Black has pointed out with splendid documentation that the implementation of certain technologies and procedures enabled the Nazis to more effectively execute the genocide. …this aspect has indeed been underexposed in the past
CHILLING. Black's book adds some new chilling cases to the already bulging gallery of amoral technicians who willingly served Hitler's murderous regime, apparently without suffering any pangs of conscience.
BREAKS NEW GROUND. IBM and the Holocaust breaks new ground by uncovering the active assistance U.S. companies gave to Hitler's henchmen. Edwin Black's revelations about IBM's role in providing the technical resources to make the Final Solution possible are explosive and illustrate how money triumphed over morality in WWII.