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EXHAUSTIVE RESEARCH. With exhaustive research, Black makes the case that IBM and Watson conspired with Nazi Germany to help automate the genocide of Europe's Jews . . . Black's book is so enlightening [because] it paints a richly textured picture of how a man [Watson], and an entire company, can ignore all sense of morality while not once transgressing the lines of business ethics. If nothing else, this book should be required reading for every first-year MBA student. As you might imagine, IBM has strongly disputed many of Black's allegations. And one very simple argument in IBM's favor is that "punch cards didn't commit genocide in Europe; people did." That is absolutely true. People following orders activated the showers at Auschwitz, pulled the triggers at Babi Yar, and operated IBM punch-card tabulators in Dachau.
CHILLING. Edwin Black's great contribution in IBM and the Holocaust is that he has tenaciously collected a lot of information and combined it in an original way. Few others have thought to place this information in the same context, to see what inferences can be drawn. Black's history makes two chilling observations. The first is that the Holocaust was possible because the Nazis had access not only to guns and gas but also to cutting-edge census technology. The second is that the Nazis had access to this technology because IBM, in its paranoid zeal, worked very hard to maintain its market dominance of the global market in data processing.
SHOCK. Worth the be shocked at a destructive use of technology and by corporate greed—two things that history teaches us are more or less inevitable.... The real shock and the real achievement of Black's research is the revelation that a powerful American corporation aided the Nazi cause and profited from it…Even if the question is never raised in a court of law, Black's book raises it in our minds and brings the Holocaust close to home—closer than perhaps other historians have had the courage to do...Watson knew of the persecution of Germany's Jews but was blinded...not by the scarlet swastika banner but by the green dollar sign.
EXPLOSIVE. An explosive book ... long and dense, although written with admirable clarity ... If you read one book this year, make it IBM and the Holocaust.
SHOCKING. A shocking account of IBM's complicity with the Nazis is a reminder that people bear moral responsibility for the actions of the corporation—a point that critics have failed to grasp.
INCREDIBLE. Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust tells the incredible story of IBM's lengthy alliance with Nazi Germany--beginning in the first weeks Hitler came to power in 1933 and continuing into World War II. As the Third Reich embarked upon its plan of control and extermination, IBM and its subsidiaries helped create early computer technologies for the German government that streamlined the efficient identification, cataloging, and ultimately, killing of millions of Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals ... A half-century has done nothing to lessen the chill of Hitler and his extensive extermination camps. And IBM and the Holocaust chronicles valid history that must be explored in order to be understood ... Ultimately, IBM and the Holocaust's most important lesson is that greed has no morals. That's a lesson that none of us should ever forget.
BEYOND DISPUTE. Through meticulous research, author Edwin Black documents how the German government used the Hollerith machines to identify its intended targets…Once the government had this information, it was able to carry out the persecutions that followed…Black argues convincingly that hundreds of Hollerith machines and millions of punch cards, all custom-designed and supplied by IBM's wholly-owned German subsidiary, made possible the speedy and efficient roundup of vast populations, first in Germany, then in other countries… It seems beyond dispute that IBM's machines played an important role in some of the most horrific events of the 1930s and 1940s in Europe. Thus the Holocaust Museum decided to display the Hollerith when it opened its doors…as Black writes, unless we learn from the past, "more lists will be compiled against more people."
DISGUSTING. If you think you’ve read enough Holocaust-related literature, and if you think there isn’t anything left that can upset you, buy IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black. It is at many levels terrible, filthy, and disgusting ... but it is an essential story of an American business operating in the cesspool that was Europe in the first half of the 20th Century before, during and after World War II. There is an enormous amount of information in IBM and the Holocaust and so many long descriptions of how holes were punched, numbers assigned and data processed ... IBM and the Holocaust is a very, very, big story – but its impact hits hardest in very, very small spaces; like two inches on a person’s forearm ... IBM and the Holocaust is meticulously sourced.
IBM EXPOSED. While sentiments on this book vary, the critics agree that whether or not IBM and its president positively knew all that Hitler was plotting to do using their technology, they certainly knew enough to trigger concern even in a Business Ethics 101 student's mind. Science Fiction novels abound with stories of man-made machines taking over and enslaving the human race. Like a page out of one of these novels, this book exposes that corporations have done a good job taking over and that the health of the corporation is considered well before the health of our fellow humans. This book may not have proven that IBM knew all about Nazi Germany's actions but it does show that the corporation took pains to maintain plausible deniability while still turning a profit.
STUNNING. PASSIONATE. Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust is a stunning, deeply troubling work of in-depth investigative reportage. In it, author Edwin Black reveals how IBM's support allowed the Nazis to automate the persecution and destruction of the European Jews … in the monumental logistical task of gathering names, making endless lists and carrying out their ghastly "final solution." Edwin Black and his researchers worked for more than five years to piece together this story of collusion, structured deniability and profits made from horrific acts. Black's IBM and the Holocaust is a passionate, carefully documented indictment. It should be read and heard as widely as possible.
HORRIFIC. IBM and the Holocaust is a well-documented and researched book. Black carefully backs-up every allegation he makes, using IBM's own documents, interviews, newspaper reports, and government records. He deftly penetrates Watson's cloak of deniability, proving that Watson, and IBM, did indeed know to what use his machines were being put to in Germany. Black does this by semi-imposing newspaper and governmental reports of the atrocities, and documenting the trips that Watson repeatedly took to Germany, plus interoffice and personal correspondence that shows that Watson knew what was going on...A chilling example of the extent to which corporate greed can run amok - and the horrific effects that such greed can have.
GREATEST CRIME. Someone please put this book online. Why? Because this is history for the information age. In a sustained assault on the world's first information transnational Edwin Black has shifted the spotlight of corporate activism away from sweatshops and ecological destruction on to the greatest crime of the 20th century- systematic genocide - and he has done so with all the savvy of the wired generation, understanding the loaded politics of information technology.
MAGICAL SPEED. Relying on thousands of documents including much IBM internal correspondence, Black shows how nearly every facet of the Third Reich relied on IBM machines. The American owned and operated company essentially installed Nazi Germany's information infrastructure, which is exactly what allowed Hitler to enact his policies with nearly magical speed and precision.
COVERING THEIR TRACKS. We shall see, no doubt, a deft and poshly-financed campaign by IBM to cover their tracks. One can almost hear their defense echoing from the halls of Nuremberg: "We had no knowledge of the extermination program."
DEVASTATING. Black's research clearly reveals how Hollerith punch card reading machines, the German IBM affiliate, facilitated the genocidal process . . . This is a devastating critique of the role of international corporate structures allied with high tech to make a profit under any circumstances, including genocide.
UNDENIABLE. With Black's documentation, it appears to be an undeniable fact that IBM, after the outbreak of hostilities, knew where each of its machines were operating in Germany and the conquered countries, and what kind of revenues it could expect from each machine. War was just another financial opportunity for Watson and IBM.
TOUGH TO DISMISS. PR nightmares don't come much worse than this one … Edwin Black names IBM as a strategic accomplice in the Nazi regime's cataloguing of Holocaust victims … Black's accusations, which some in the press reported as "exhaustively" documented, will be tough to dismiss … IBM will have its hands full distancing itself from this one.
FASCINATING. Black has created a must-read work of history. But it's also a fascinating business book examining the colliding influences of personality, morality, and cold strategic calculation.
SORDID. Edwin Black's book. IBM and the Holocaust, is convincing, and the story he tells sordid.
UNDENIABLE. Black concludes that the efficiency and effectiveness of Germany's final solution for the Jews, not to mention its war machine generally, would have been greatly hampered had IBM withdrawn from its long established economic relationship with the Third Reich after the US entered the war. Considering IBM and the Holocaust's meticulous research, its wealth of citation, and the support of surrounding, established historical fact, this conclusion would be undeniable were it not for the bitter irony that this conclusion also clearly demonstrates that people like Thomas J. Watson, IBM's legendary CEO, were capable of denying anything.
SPOILS OF GENOCIDE. IBM, upon which the Nazi regime was utterly dependent for organizing the systematic extermination of Jews and others, could have, by walking away from evil, slowed the Holocaust and the extent of Nazi occupation and terror. It didn't. The US government could have stopped IBM. It didn't. The guiding principle of business and governments under capitalism is profit-making. Genocide and war did not divert IBM from "business as usual". When the Gestapo came knocking on the doors of Europe's Jews, the lists were courtesy of IBM's lust for profits. If ever an example is needed of why the capitalist profit-system should be abolished, then the behavior of IBM in preparing, facilitating, and reaping the spoils from genocide, provides it.
COMPELLING. Highly Recommended! … a compelling account … This fascinating book puts IBM's history of conformist culture in a new light, although it reveals a story IBM undoubtedly would rather leave untold. We at recommend this fine work of historical reporting to general readers and academics, as well as executives and managers. You'll be enthralled and outraged.
DISTURBING. - MUST READ. A disturbing book, but remarkably well crafted despite being so heavily annotated. It is a must-read for anyone involved in corporate decision-making or remotely concerned with IT or corporate ethics. What was—or is—IBM's responsibility? That will be debated for a long time, but you can only answer that question for yourself if you've actually read the book.
LIKE A PROSECUTOR. Black presents his case clearly, methodically, and with extensive footnoting as if he were a prosecutor in court. The evidence of doublespeak, cover-ups and outright lies from IBM president Thomas Watson, Sr., and other IBM executives, is overwhelming.
GENOCIDE BUSINESS. Watson did business with Nazi Germany because it was profitable. Hitler may have burned books, but he invested heavily in information technology. As "Greater Germany" expanded, so did the Hollerith market. Persecution, conquest, and genocide were good for business.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I highly recommend the reading of the book. Not because it gives new insights into the political reasons for the establishment of fascism in Germany, Black does not attempt to make such an appraisal, nor does he claim to, largely attributing IBM's involvement with the Third Reich to the unscrupulous nature of Watson as an individual. Nevertheless, Black's research into the involvement of such a major corporation does help in understanding how the Nazis were able to carry through their genocide. In doing so, he sheds more light on the role of international capital in one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century.
HORRIBLE. No one can fault Black for not doing his research. There is no doubt that this book represents an immense amount of work. By the time you’ve read this book, Black’s statement that “behind every text footnote is a file folder with all the hardcopy documentation needed to document every sentence in this book at a moment’s notice” seems modest instead of outrageous. ... How much did IBM headquarters know? The IBM top was fully informed, and when U.S.A. law made direct dealing with the Nazis illegal, IBM purposely circumnavigated this law by continuing its business from its Swiss office. That’s the story, and Black brings proof to the table. ... It is some horribly fascinating reading. 5 stars.
TRUTH REVEALED. Edwin Black ... rips the lid off a stunning historical scandal: the long alliance between one of America's most famous companies, IBM, and Hitler's Third Reich. ... Now, thanks to Black, the truth is revealed. ... Most amazingly, the founder of IBM himself--Thomas Watson, who is revered as one of the 20th century's greatest thinkers--was directly involved in and profited from this most unholy of alliances. Watson took great pains to hide any trace of the connection.
FRIGHTENING. This is a frightening book, one that leaves a clear feeling of discomfort when one finally lays it down. The distress is not so much created by the ugly reminder of Nazi horrors, and IBM's complicity, but rather the inescapable truth: International business acknowledges no borders, no politics, and no morals. The only law is the bottom line, and we are all willing participants.
SHOWS US A TRUTH. Edwin Black’s determined investigation of the deep complicity of IBM in the murderous ravages of the Hitler regime is a grim contribution ... Black’s history shows us a truth which took a lot of unearthing and must be very difficult for IBM to face. It is not only very disquieting, but cuts right to the heart of the great modern debates about free trade and corporate accountability, technology and civilized humanism.