- Taschenbuch: 592 Seiten
- Verlag: Dialog Press; Auflage: Expanded. (16. März 2012)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0914153277
- ISBN-13: 978-0914153276
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,5 x 3,8 x 24,1 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 172.744 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation. Expanded Edition (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 16. März 2012
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Was IBM, "The Solutions Company," partly responsible for the Final Solution? That's the question raised by Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust, the most controversial book on the subject since Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners. Black, a son of Holocaust survivors, is less tendentiously simplistic than Goldhagen, but his thesis is no less provocative: he argues that IBM founder Thomas Watson deserved the Merit Cross (Germany's second-highest honor) awarded him by Hitler, his second-biggest customer on earth. "IBM, primarily through its German subsidiary, made Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission the company pursued with chilling success," writes Black. "IBM had almost single-handedly brought modern warfare into the information age [and] virtually put the 'blitz' in the krieg."
The crucial technology was a precursor to the computer, the IBM Hollerith punch card machine, which Black glimpsed on exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, inspiring his five-year, top-secret book project. The Hollerith was used to tabulate and alphabetize census data. Black says the Hollerith and its punch card data ("hole 3 signified homosexual ... hole 8 designated a Jew") was indispensable in rounding up prisoners, keeping the trains fully packed and on time, tallying the deaths, and organizing the entire war effort. Hitler's regime was fantastically, suicidally chaotic; could IBM have been the cause of its sole competence: mass-murdering civilians? Better scholars than I must sift through and appraise Black's mountainous evidence, but clearly the assessment is overdue.
The moral argument turns on one question: How much did IBM New York know about IBM Germany's work, and when? Black documents a scary game of brinksmanship orchestrated by IBM chief Watson, who walked a fine line between enraging U.S. officials and infuriating Hitler. He shamefully delayed returning the Nazi medal until forced to--and when he did return it, the Nazis almost kicked IBM and its crucial machines out of Germany. (Hitler was prone to self-defeating decisions, as demonstrated in How Hitler Could Have Won World War II.)
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. --Tim Appelo -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
“An explosive book... Backed by exhaustive research, Black's case is simple and stunning: that IBM facilitated the identification and roundup of millions of Jews during the 12 years of the Third Reich ... Black's evidence may be the most damning to appear yet against a corporate accomplice.” - Michael Hirsh, Newsweek.
“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.” -- Christopher Simpson, Washington Post Book World.
“Black's meticulous documentation constructs an undeniable fact: after the outbreak of WWII, the IBM corporation knew where each of its leased (not sold) machines was in Europe, and what revenues it could expect from them. Each machine was insured and serviced monthly. Even though Watson, under public pressure, returned his medal to Hitler, he continued to "micromanage" the German and European operations. Further, he fought to keep control of his German subsidiary, knowing full well the profits that would accrue to IBM as a result. He did this with the knowledge, fuller than most, of the purposes for which his machines were deployed. . . . Remarkably, instead of indicting IBM, the Allies saw in these machines and their data a great opportunity to conduct a more efficient occupation of Germany and a rebuilding of Europe. Instead of evidence of crimes against humanity, the machines became an essential tool in the implementation of the Marshall Plan. In this way, IBM evaded any hint of complicity in the Holocaust. At least, until the publication of Edwin Black's book.” -- Harvard International Review
“An ugly story, hidden for years, told by a master craftsman . . . compelling . . . it’s a chilling lesson.” -- Richard Pachter, Miami Herald
”IBM is haunted by its past. Edwin Black's book reveals the company's involvement in the Holocaust … Previously the Nazi past of "Big Blue" was hardly ever a topic … But now IBM is in the dock. Black's meticulous research documents just how precisely IBM managers were kept informed about the whereabouts of their machines.” -- Christian Habbe, Der Spiegel, Germany
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Hitler had plans for Hollerith.
Just think what we can do today.
Do not need to go into the details of the book as you will read them for yourself. However the title pretty much tells what you’re about to read; what it doesn’t tell you is details that might be a tad shocking.
Even though this book is concentrating on the Holocaust we see that IBM whether it is ideology or not would be in cahoots with anybody to turn a profit.
Keep your eye out and watch as IBM farms out homeland security support to the previous Soviet satellite of Sofia Bulgaria and as a backup Cairo Egypt.
The core of the story is how a key IBM technology, the Hollerith-based card tabulating machines, became available for the Nazi war and Holocaust efforts. Although the details are murky (and may remain so), it is fairly clear that the use of this technology was sustained during the war years in part by shipments of customized (for each end user) tabulating cards from IBM in neutral countries for everything from blitzkriegs to slave camp scheduling to transportation to the death camps. There was not enough paper capacity to make the cards in Europe (that the Nazi and IBM records show were used), and there is no evidence that Nazis created substitutes for these essential supplies.
As Mr. Black warns, "This book will be profoundly uncomfortable to read." I agree. My sleep will not be the same for some time after experiencing this powerful story.
Mr. Black makes an even stronger statement. "So if you intend to skim, or rely on selected sections, do not read the book at all." I took him at his word, and did not even read the book quickly. I also arranged to read it in several sittings, so I could think about what I had read in between. I recommend that you do the same.
The reason for my recommendation is that your thinking will change very fundamentally through reading the book. Having read dozens of books by fine historians about the Nazi period, and knowing a great deal about the history of data processing, I assumed that there would be little new to the story here. But the title intrigued me. By the fourth time I saw the book, I could no longer resist it.
What I found inside the book surprised, shocked, and amazed me.
First, many authors claim that it was not clear in the United States that Jews were losing their lives in Europe during the Nazi years until just before the end of the war. This book documents many articles that appeared in the New York Times that certainly seemed to be saying that this systematic killing was going on from very near the time when it began. Anyone who ignored these reports just didn't want to know.
Second, the book makes many connections between Thomas Watson, Sr. and Nazi Germany. Many things surprised me about this. One, he was there once or twice a year until just before World War II began. The horrible human abuses were probably observed first hand by him then. Two, he had friends who were victimized by the Nazis. Three, he accepted a very prestigious medal from Hitler in 1937 (which he returned in June 1940). Four, he spoke in favor of making U.S. policy pro-German until just before the United States entered World War II. Five, it appeared that he had a lot more concern about IBM's profits and machines in Europe than about any people there.
Third, although I was very familiar with the improvements in industrial and transportation effectiveness in Germany during the Nazi years, I did not realize that IBM's design of Hollerith machines for card tabulation was a breakthrough technology that enabled this progress.
Fourth, I had always been amazed that the Nazis had such detailed records of the geneologies of European Jews. What I did not realize was that much of this information was provided by Jewish citizens in government censuses, and was quickly processed into records used by oppressors on Hollerith machines leased from IBM or its subsidiaries.
In France, where the use of these machines was subverted by the Resistance, the percentage rate of Jewish deaths was one-third of what occurred in Holland where this technology was well applied. It is hard to avoid the feeling that millions of people died because these machines were available and kept supplied with parts and punch cards for the Nazis.
One cannot help but draw the comparison between this historical example and the companies and countries (including, apparently, the United States) that have more recently allowed critical nuclear, rocket, and satellite technology to become available to repressive regimes. It seems that by not asking questions about IBM and the Holocaust, we may be continuing to make many of the same mistakes today.
I salute the incredible imagination and back-breaking effort that went into assembling this astonishing set of documents and perspectives. I hope that many people will read the book, that scholars will look for more information to expand our understanding, and that the fundamental questions raised by this book will be debated wherever free people live.
Remember: Your freedom is only as good as that of the least free person, who is most vulnerable.
"Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."
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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.
Black explains that the visit with his parents in 1993 to the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. caused him to ask question after question, beginning with questions surrounding National Socialist obtainment of his parents' names (his parents are Jewish survivors of the Holocaust). The Holocaust Museum exhibit at the time had an IBM Hollerith D-11 card sorting machine (one of the predecessors of modern computing equipment), but the exhibit did not explain much more than provide indication that IBM had been responsible for organizing the census of 1933 that first identified Jews living in Germany. To discover the details behind this lack of explanation, Black assembled a host of researchers across the globe in search of documents that explain how IBM equipment was used by Germany during that time period, resulting in approximately 20,000 pages of such documentation, and based on this effort Black estimates in his introduction to this book that five times this amount in additional documentation is yet to be discovered.
Thomas Watson, who eventually headed IBM, came from National Cash Register (NCR), a firm where Watson excelled for seventeen years, but where he felt business development opportunities were lacking. To broaden his opportunities at an international level, Watson joined the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR), from where Hollerith machines originated, the name of which Watson changed to International Business Machines (IBM) after he became chief executive. Dehomag, a German firm, was a licensee of Hollerith equipment from IBM, but the monetary crisis in Germany during the early-1920s made it impossible for Dehomag to pay royalties and other monies it owed to IBM, which controlled all of Hollerith's patents, so Dehomag became a subsidiary of IBM.
Black explains that while many European countries were slow to adopt Hollerith technology, more than half of IBM's overseas income came from Dehomag alone, and there were about seventy IBM subsidiaries and foreign branches worldwide at the time. In 1933, the business world questioned whether it was worth economic risk or moral descent trading with Germany. IBM was in an interesting position, because it exported American technology rather than import German goods, and while Dehomag was renamed IBM Germany following the second world war, it did not carry the name of IBM or Watson at the time, permitting it to fly below the radar. Unfortunately, in the pure pursuit of business development, Watson chose to risk moral descent, seeing many opportunities in the plans of the National Socialists, beginning with a census of Poland to identify those of Jewish origin, and later working with German statisticians to trace Jewish bloodlines back to the early 1800s.
The space available here is simply lacking for a thorough review of this book. In my opinion, the content that Black provides is as much an account of IBM and its enablement of ethnic cleansing as it is a warning to the modern world not to follow in the footsteps of early-IBM or the National Socialists. As other reviewers here have indicated, morality should not take a back seat to the demands of stockholders seeking a profit. And Black's mentions of Germany's "The Law for Simplification of the Health System" and "The Law for the Prevention of Genetically Sick Offspring" of 1934 together with the article for the German statistical journal written by Friedrich Zahn that same year, "The Economic Value of Man as an Object of Statistics", should be remembered by modern society as avenues which we should not travel again. But are we not as a global society moving in this direction again? Well recommended text to everyone seeking insight into how IBM, in the words of Black, put the "blitz" in "blitzkreig".