IBM and the Holocaust
|IBM and the Holocaust|
Paperback edition cover
IBM and the Holocaust is a book by investigative journalist Edwin Black which details the business dealings of the American-based multinational corporation International Business Machines (IBM) and its German and other European subsidiaries with the government of Adolf Hitler during the 1930s and the years of World War II. In the book, Black outlines the way in which IBM's technology helped facilitate Nazi genocide through generation and tabulation of punch cards based upon national census data.
While not directly contradicting Black's evidence, IBM has questioned Black's research methodology and conclusions. IBM indicates it does not have much information about this period or the operations of Dehomag, as most documents were destroyed or lost during the war. IBM also claimed that a lawsuit, which was dismissed, was filed to coincide with the book launch.
In 2002, IBM disputed Edwin Black's claim that IBM is withholding materials regarding this era in its archives. Nevertheless, IBM subsequently turned over a substantial portion of its corporate records of the period to academic archives in New York and Stuttgart, for review by independent scholars.
Edwin Black in his article published in George Mason University's History News Network openly accused IBM advocates of systematic elimination of references to IBM's role in the Holocaust in the Wikipedia article History of IBM.
Richard Bernstein, writing for The New York Times Book Review, wrote that Black's case "is long and heavily documented, and yet he does not demonstrate that IBM bears some unique or decisive responsibility for the evil that was done." IBM quoted this claim in a March 2002 press release "Addendum to IBM Statement on Nazi-era Book and Lawsuit".
Others have seen Black's work as a revelatory piece of historical scholarship. In 2003, the American Society of Journalists and Authors acknowledged IBM and the Holocaust with its award for Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year.
In February 2001, an Alien Tort Claims Act claim was filed in U.S. federal court against IBM for allegedly providing the punched card technology that facilitated the Holocaust, and for covering up German IBM subsidiary Dehomag's activities. In April 2001, the lawsuit was dropped. Lawyers said they feared proceeding with the suit would slow down payments from a special German Holocaust fund created to compensate forced laborers and others who had suffered due to the Nazi persecution. IBM's German division paid $3 million into the fund, although the corporation made clear that it was not admitting liability with its contribution.
In 2004, the human rights organization Gypsy International Recognition and Compensation Action (GIRCA) filed suit against IBM in Switzerland. However, the case was dismissed in 2006.
- List of international subsidiaries of IBM
- Identification in Nazi camps
- Final Solution
- The War Against the Jews
- Preston, Peter (February 18, 2001). "Six million and counting". The Observer (guardian.co.uk). Retrieved June 14, 2001.
- Michael J. Bazyler, Holocaust Justice: The Battle for Restitution in America's Courts. New York: New York University Press, 2005; pg. 303.
- IBM Press Room (February 14, 2001). "IBM Statement on Nazi-era Book and Lawsuit". Press Release. Armonk, New York.
- IBM Press Room (March 29, 2002). "Addendum to IBM Statement on Nazi-era Book and Lawsuit". Press Release. Armonk, New York.
- Grace, Francie (March 27, 2002). "IBM And Nazi Germany: Researcher Has New Documents On World War II Conduct". CBS News.
- Edwin Black. Wikipedia—The Dumbing Down of World Knowledge. History News Network. 
- Bernstein, Richard (March 7, 2001). "'IBM and the Holocaust': Assessing the Culpability". Arts section (The New York Times).
- ASJA Award Recipients, American Society of Journalists and Authors. Retrieved July 16, 2010.
- Ramasastry, Anita (July 8, 2004). "A Swiss court allows Gypsies' Holocaust lawsuit to proceed, Case questions role of corporate giant IBM in World War II". Law Center, Find Law.
- Sydney Morning Herald staff (August 19, 2006). "Swiss high court rejects Gypsy Holocaust suit versus IBM, cites time limit". The Sydney Morning Herald. AP Digital. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- IBM and the Holocaust Official Website, ibmandtheholocaust.com Retrieved July 16, 2010.
- Excerpt from "IBM and the Holocaust" with photo of Hollerith machine, Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved July 16, 2010.