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IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation Paperback – Feb 16 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Dialog Press; Expanded Edition edition (Feb. 16 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0914153277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0914153276
  • Product Dimensions: 3.9 x 14.9 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #292,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Victor S. Alpher on May 5 2003
Format: Hardcover
Who would have anticipated that a speedy card-sorter, the Hollerith machine, would evolve into a tool of one of the most evil schemes of all time? Yet, this patented machine, devised by a little-known man of German descent, made it possible to conduct a census in a short time period, and turned counting into a tool useful on a mass scale. Black's book is a page-burner, containing information that will surprise the reader paragraph by paragraph. In my generation, the "Do Not Spindle, Fold, or Mutilate" written on each IBM punchcard was the introduction to the computer and information age (and often the butt of jokes). A scant 25 to 30 years earlier, similar punch cards became the currency on which the Holocaust was based. A truly groundbreaking piece of research that, fortunately, has already appeared in German translation. In the days where vast amounts of personal information are being reduced to a series of ones and zeros carried electronically and stored digitally, this saga may be the harbinger of horrors much worse than were conceived by the progenitors of the 1000-year Reich. We should pay close attention to the uses of such personal information, lest humans lose complete control of their humanity. Here we find a true fable (that's an oxymoron) with much more to teach than Aesop could have imagined.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By marvin j. migdol on Dec 3 2001
Format: Hardcover
Edwin Black's book on IBM and the Holocaust is a monument to thorough, historical research and documented fact-finding. He left no stone unturned. I tried to get IBM to dispute any part of it and they did not do so. Investigative journalism at its best.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lisatheratgirl on March 18 2001
Format: Hardcover
IBM may be guilty of what the author claims, but he doesn't prove it, and admits at the end that he can't. As far as this book shows, Thomas Watson was not a fascist (by the author's own admission) and his motive was making money, period. There is nothing to show his priorities included killing Jews and others, propagating a "master race", or making the world safe for National Socialism. The technology was in Germany long before Hitler came to power. Watson was certainly amoral and an arch-capitalist who played both sides against the middle to win, but this book did not convince me he was an advocate or an engineer of genocide.
The author also doesn't stick to the point. He retells everything that went on in the world from the 1860s to the 1940s. The point is not what the Nazis did (most people are aware of this), but what IBM did.
One of the biggest problems I had with this book is that so much is written with the benefit of hindsight. He seems to think the entire population of the U.S., all the Jews in Germany, everyone in Europe, and often the whole world "knew" what was going to happen. I can't believe that when Hitler published Mein Kampf in the 1920s (before he was even well known) that the whole world should have foreseen Auschwitz 20 years later. I have trouble with the idea that because a census of the population was taken in 1933 in Prussia that everyone should have envisioned the "final solution" first discussed at Wannsee in 1939.
IBM's relationship with the German company it bought was always adversary. Thomas Watson, after "insulting" Hitler by returning a medal he had earlier been awarded by the Third Reich, was in the author's words, "persona non grata" in Germany.
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Format: Hardcover
To what end should profit be more important than morality? This is the main question readers should ask after reading Edwin Black's thoughtful, thorough look at IBM's economic history with Nazi Germany before - and especially, during - World War II. Although Black is not the most lyrical of writers, he does make a very persuasive case for IBM's primary role in mechanizing Hitler's Holocaust agains the Jews, Gypsies and other racial, religious and sexual minorities in Nazi-occupied Europe. One important unanswered question from World War II has been the extent of IBM's involvement in Nazi genocide; judging from Black's evidence that involvement was substantial, to say the least. Indeed, it is Black's premise that IBM's counting machines made it possible for Germany to perfect the crime of genocide as a mere matter of industrial mechanization. Black shows how IBM's Hollerith counting machines were used to identify, round up, and then deport hundreds of thousands of Jews from Poland to Holland into the Nazi regime's nightmarish network of labor and death camps.
Black's book is also a fascinating look into corporate politics. One wonders how much IBM's New York office knew of its German affiliate's activities. Without gaining access to IBM's archives, Black shows that IBM was aware and choose not to know, concerning itself only with the profits earned by Dehomag, its German affiliate, throughout Nazi-occupied Europe.
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Format: Paperback
I am astonished that Holocaust research has advanced so far and no one has yet detailed or even mentioned the involvement of IBM in organizing the Holocaust--from identification to extermination, 1933 to 1945. Not until IBM and the Holocaust. Author Edwin Black has produced a powerful, gripping, chilling and magnificently documented volume. The correspondance of IBM officials juxtaposed against NYT headlines offers a horrid insight into their mindsets as they were designing applications to further oppress the Jews and help Hitler conquer Europe. The author's website is filled with worldwide praise for this work, and yet it stands alone. I can find no other follow-up volumes to this excellent book. ... I cannot recommend enough this important achievement.
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