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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Edwin Black, the son of Polish Holocaust survivors and an expert on Third Reich commercial relationships, 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. As the Nazis began their plan of death and destruction, they needed a way to identify and catalogue their targets. In stepped IBM's Dehomag subsidiary, armed with brand-new Hollerith punch card technology perfectly suited to the task. Over the years that followed, Dehomag continually upgraded its Hollerith systems, thus making it possible for Adolf Hitler to automate his persecution and extermination of European Jews! Historians have always wondered how the Third Reich was able to so quickly identify and locate those it wished to eliminate. Now, thanks to Black, the truth is revealed.
How much did the Nazis rely on IBM punch card technology? Black says it was used for everything from identifying Jews through censuses and various ancestral tracing programs to the running of both the slave camp railroads and the camps themselves. In fact, it seems the Hollerith group took pains to anticipate the future needs of the Nazi officials, cannily updating its programs in much the same way that the Microsofts of today's world do.
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, making sure the parent company's name did not appear on any official documents. Meanwhile, as the deception continued, the truth about what was happening in the camps was emerging, and more than 100,000 concerned Americans were taking to the streets to demonstrate in support of a boycott of all companies doing business with Hitler's Germany. Those angry demonstrators had no idea the company that would one day be the legendary "Big Blue" was at that very moment in the vanguard of those U.S. firms consorting with the enemy. (Nicholas Sinisi)