Detail map of Brooklyn, New York, United States,Centre-Plainpalais-Acacias, Genève, Genève, Switzerland,Weimar, Thüringen, Germany,małopolskie, Poland

A: Brooklyn, New York, United States, B: Centre-Plainpalais-Acacias, Genève, Genève, Switzerland, C: Weimar, Thüringen, Germany, D: małopolskie, Poland

Edwin Black Issues "IBM and the Holocaust"


In 2001 Edwin Black issued IBM and the Holocaust.

This book documented:

"how IBM's New York headquarters and CEO Thomas J. Watson acted through its overseas subsidiaries to provide the Third Reich with punch card machines that could help the Nazis to track down the European Jewry (especially in newly conquered territory). The book quotes extensively from numerous IBM and government memos and letters that describe how IBM in New York, IBM's Geneva office and Dehomag, its German subsidiary, were intimately involved in supporting Nazi oppression. The book also includes IBM's internal reports that admit that these machines made the Nazis much more efficient in their efforts. Several documentaries, including the 2003 film The Corporation Screened, C-SPAN broadcast and The Times, the Village Voice, the JTA and numerous other publications published close-ups of several documents demonstrating IBM's involvement in the Holocaust. These included IBM code sheets for concentration camps taken from the files of the National Archives. For example, IBM's Prisoner Code listed 8 for a Jew and Code 11 for a Gypsy. Camp Code 001 was Auschwitz, Code 002 was Buchenwald. Status Code 5 was executed by order, code 6 was gas chamber. One extensively quoted IBM report written by the company's European manager during WWII declared “in Germany a campaign started for, what has been termed … ‘organization of the second front.’ ” The memo added, “In military literature and in newspapers, the importance and necessity of having in all phases of life, behind the front, an organization which would remain intact and would function with ‘Blitzkrieg’ efficiency … was brought out. What we had been preaching in vain for years all at once began to be realized.”

"The book documents IBM's CEO Thomas J. Watson as being an active Nazi supporter. Watson made numerous statements in numerous venues that the international community ought to give Nazi Germany a break from the economic sanctions. As head of the International Chamber of Commerce, Watson engineered an annual meeting to be held in Berlin, where he was witnessed to publicly give a Nazi salute to Hitler in the infamous "Seig, Heil" fashion. Watson traveled to Germany numerous times after the Nazis took power in 1933, but it was on the Commerce trip that he received an honor medal from Hitler himself. Watson also dined privately with Hitler, and attended lavish dinners with many infamous Nazi officials at the same time that Jews were being officially robbed and driven from their homes.

"There was an IBM customer site, the Hollerith Abteilung, in almost every concentration camp, that either ran machines, sorted cards or prepared documents for IBM processing. The Auschwitz tattoo began as an IBM number.

"Although IBM actively worked with the Hitler regime from its inception in 1933 to its demise in 1945, IBM has asserted that since their German subsidiary came under temporary receivership by the Nazi authorities from 1941 to 1945, the main company was not responsible for its role in the latter years of the holocaust. Shortly after the war, the company worked aggressively to recover the profits made from the many Hollerith departments in the concentration camps, the printing of millions of punchcards used to keep track of the prisoners, the custom-built punchcard systems, and its servicing of the Extermination through labour program. The company also paid its employees special bonuses based on high sales volume to the Nazis and collaborator regimes. As in many corporate cases, when the US entered the war, the Third Reich left in place the original IBM managers who continued their contacts via Geneva, thus company activities continued without interruption" (Wikipedia article on IBM and the Holocaust, accessed 05-23-2009).

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