Edwin Black is an American syndicated columnist, and journalist specializing in human rights, the historical interplay between economics and politics in the Middle East, petroleum policy, the abuses practiced by corporations, and the financial underpinnings of Nazi Germany, among other topics. Black's ten works of non-fiction have been translated into an array of non-English languages, including French, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, German, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, and Hebrew.
Black is the son of Polish Jews who were survivors of the Holocaust. His mother Edjya, from Białystok, had only managed to survive the Holocaust when as a 12-year old in August 1943 she was pushed to safety by her mother and other prisoners through the vent of a boxcar en route to the Treblinka extermination camp. His father as a young man had escaped his murder by successfully fleeing to the woods from a long march to an isolated "shooting pit" and had subsequently fought the fascists as a Betar partisan. The pair had survived World War II by hiding in the forests of Poland for two years, emerging only after the end of the conflict and emigrating to the United States.
Of his own origins, Black has written: "I was born in Chicago, raised in Jewish neighborhoods, and my parents never tried to speak of their experience again."
In his book The Transfer Agreement he notes, following in the beliefs of his parents, Black was from his earliest days a supporter of the State of Israel. As a young man he spent time on a kibbutz, visited Israel on several other occasions, and gave earnest consideration to permanent residency there.
Black began working as a professional journalist while still in high school, later attending university where he further developed the craft. In the late 1970s he was a founder of the investigative magazine, The Chicago Monthly. He also was a frequent freelance contributor to the four major Chicago newspapers of the day, the Tribune, the Daily News, the Sun-Times, and Chicago Today, as well as such weeklies as Chicago Reader and Chicago Magazine.
In 1978 Black interviewed the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represented members of the American Nazi Party who, intending provocation, marched through the predominantly Jewish Chicago suburb of Skokie. In preparing himself for that interview, Black's interest was piqued in the hidden history of relations between the government of Adolf Hitler and German-Jewish Zionists during the first years of the Nazi regime. Five years of research followed, ending in the 1984 publication of his controversial first book, The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine.
Black's books have typically made use of networks of volunteer and professional researchers assembled for each project. Three years before completion of his 2001 book, IBM and the Holocaust, Black began to put together what would ultimately become a team of more than 100 researchers, translators, and assistants to work on discovery and analysis of primary source documents written in German, French, and Polish. In all, more than 20,000 documents from some 50 different libraries, archives, museums, and other collections were assembled and analyzed in the writing of the book.
Black has written on topics beyond that of 1933-1945 German history, including books on the issue of oil dependence, the history of Iraq, and alternative energy. He is presently a contributor to the online magazine, The Cutting Edge. In March 2013, the author began the Edwin Black Show on the IBC-TV network which delves into various aspects of his books and human rights.
Black lives today in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Selected literary awards
- 1985 Carl Sandburg Award of the Friends of the Chicago Public Library for best non-fiction book of 1984 for the book The Transfer Agreement.
- 2003 Outstanding Book Award: General Nonfiction from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) for the book IBM and the Holocaust.
- 2003 Donald Robinson Award for Investigative Journalism from the ASJA for the article "Final Solutions: How IBM Helped Automate the Nazi Death Machine in Poland," published in The Village Voice.
- 2005 Best World Affairs Book Award from the Great Lakes chapter of the World Affairs Council for Banking on Baghdad.
- 2007 Honorable Mention for General Non-Fiction Books from the ASJA for the book Internal Combustion.
- The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine. New York: Macmillan, 1984.
- Format C: (novel) Washington, DC: Dialog Press, 1999.
- IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation. New York: Crown Publishers, 2001.
- War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race. New York: Basic Books, 2003.
- Banking on Baghdad: Inside Iraq's 7,000-Year History of War, Profit, and Conflict. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2004.
- Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2006.
- The Plan: How to Rescue Society When the Oil Stops — or the Day Before. (cover title) Washington, DC: Dialog Press, 2008.
- Nazi Nexus: America's Corporate Connections to Hitler's Holocaust. Washington, DC: Dialog Press, 2009.
- The Farhud: The Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust. Washington, DC: Dialog Press, 2010.
- British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement. Washington, DC: Dialog Press, 2011.
- Financing the Flames: How Tax-Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation and Terror in Israel. Washington, DC: Dialog Press, 2013.
- Götz Aly and Karl Heinz Roth, The Nazi Census: Identification and Control in the Third Reich. Introduction and translation by Edwin Black. Additional translation by Assenka Oksiloff. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2004.
- John Friedman (ed.), The Secret Histories: Hidden Truths That Challenged the Past and Changed the World. New York: Picador Books, 2005.
- Eric Katz (ed.), Death By Design: Science, Technology, and Engineering in Nazi Germany. New York: Pearson Longman, 2006.
- Alan Dershowitz (ed.), What Israel Means to Me: By 80 Prominent Writers, Performers, Scholars, Politicians, and Journalists. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006.
- Michael T. Wilson (ed.), Democracy: Opposing Viewpoints. Farmington Hills, MI : Greenhaven Press/Thomson Gale, 2006.
- Tobias Daniel Wabbel (ed.), Das Heilige Nichts: Gott nach dem Holocaust (The Holy Nothingness: God after the Holocaust), Düsseldorf, Germany: Patmos Publishers, 2007.
- "Final Solutions: How IBM Helped Automate the Nazi Death Machine in Poland," Village Voice.com, March 26, 2002.
- "Does Jonathan Pollard Deserve a Life Sentence?" History News Network, June 20, 2002.
- "The IBM Link to Auschwitz," Village Voice.com, October 8, 2002.
- "Ethnic Cleansing in Connecticut – Nazi Eugenics in the State," Hartford Advocate, September 11, 2003.
- "Funding Hate — How the Ford Foundation Funds Hate Groups," In 4 parts. JTA News Service, October 2003.
- "Eugenics and the Nazis — the California Connection," San Francisco Chronicle, SF Gate.com, November 9, 2003.
- "When the Seeds of the Middle East Mess Were Laid — in 1920," History News Network, December 12, 2004.
- "GM and the Nazis," In 4 Parts. JTA News Service, November 29, 2006.
- "Wikipedia — The Dumbing Down of World Knowledge," The Cutting Edge.com, April 12, 2010.
Selected contributions to video documentaries
- IBM's Role and the Holocaust, Guerrilla News Network, 2001.
- The King of Capitalism, BBC, 2002.
- The Corporation' Big Picture Media Corporation/Hello Cool World.com, 2002.
- Saddam and the Third Reich, History Channel, 2007.
- Racism: A History, BBC, 2007.
- War Against the Weak—The Movie, 2009.
- One Mainframe to Rule Them All, Faull Brothers, 2010.
- "Edwin Black" author search, WorldCat, Online Computer Library Center. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
- Edwin Black, "Introduction to the 1984 Edition," The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine. Washington, DC: Dialog Press, 2009; pg. xxii.
- Edwin Black, "The Ghosts in the Machine," Forward, March 29, 2002. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- Black, "Introduction to the 1984 Edition," The Transfer Agreement, pp. xxii-xxiii.
- The Transfer Agreement one-sheet, Israel Visit.co.il. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- "Edwin Black" biography, Feature Group.com Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- Edwin Black, "Introduction to the 1984 Edition," The Transfer Agreement, pg. xxi.
- Edwin Black interview with Stuart Weinblatt, The Transfer Agreement. (video) Rockville, Maryland, October 30, 2009. C-SPAN Book TV.
- Edwin Black, IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation. Washington, DC: Dialog Press, 2001; pg. 12.
- Black, IBM and the Holocaust, pg. 13.
- "About Us", The Cutting Edge, www.thecuttingedgenews.com/ Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- Jerry Goldsmith talks to Edwin Black
- Martin Barillas, "Author Holds Historic Event on The Transfer Agreement," The Cutting Edge.com, October 12, 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- "ASJA Presents 2003 Writing Awards," American Society of Journalists and Authors, ASJA.org. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- "Awards," Edwin Black.com. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- "2007 Awards," American Society of Journalists and Authors, ASJA.org. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- Edwin Black official website, Edwin Black.com.
- The Edwin Black Show index page, IBC-TV.
- "Secret Bad Arolsen Holocaust Archive—a trove of Revelations about Holocaust Insurance, Corporate Complicity and IBM involvement."
- Edwin Black interviewed by Stuart Weinblatt, The Transfer Agreement. (video) Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Rockville, Maryland, October 30, 2009. C-SPAN Book TV. Air date: January 17, 2010.
- Edwin Black presentation, Nazi Nexus: America's Corporate Connections to Hitler's Holocaust. (video) East Park Synagogue, New York City. C-SPAN Book TV. Air date: May 16, 2009.
- Edwin Black presentation, The Plan: How to Rescue Society When the Oil Stops — or on the Day Before. (video) Temple Beth Tikvah, Fullerton, California. C-SPAN Book TV. Air date: January 3, 2009.