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Edwin Black

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Edwin Black
Edwin Black in March 2014
Edwin Black in March 2014
BornChicago, Illinois, United States
OccupationAuthor, journalist, historian, talk show host
GenreNon Fiction
Notable worksInternal Combustion, The Farhud, Nazi Nexus, Banking on Baghdad, British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement, and Financing the Flames.
Notable awardsAmerican Society of Journalists and Authors Best Nonfiction Investigative Book of the year for IBM and the Holocaust, 2003

Edwin Black (born February 27, 1950) is an American historian and author, as well as a syndicated columnist, investigative journalist, and weekly talk show host on The Edwin Black Show. He specializes in human rights, the historical interplay between economics and politics in the Middle East, petroleum policy, academic fraud, corporate criminality and abuse, and the financial underpinnings of Nazi Germany.


Early years[edit]

Black is the son of Holocaust survivors from Poland. His mother, Ethel "Edjya" Katz, from Białystok, told of narrowly escaping death during the Holocaust by escaping a boxcar en route to the Treblinka extermination camp as a 13-year old in August 1943. After escaping, she was shot by militiamen and then rescued by a Polish Jewish fighter whom she later married.[1] Black's father described escaping death by fleeing to the woods from a long march to an isolated "shooting pit" and subsequently fighting the Nazis as a Betar partisan. The pair 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.[1][2]

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."[2]

In his book The Transfer Agreement Black notes that following in the beliefs of his parents, he was from his earliest days a supporter of the State of Israel.[2] As a young man he spent time on a kibbutz, visited Israel on several other occasions, and gave earnest consideration to permanent residency there.[2]


Black began working as a professional journalist while still in high school, later attending university where he further developed the craft. 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.[citation needed] In the late 1970s, he was the editor of Chicago Monthly.

In 1978, Black interviewed the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represented members of the American Nazi Party, which had marched provocatively through the predominantly Jewish Chicago suburb of Skokie.[3] In preparing himself for that interview, Black's interest was piqued by 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 first book, The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine.[4]

In the early 1990s Black served as the editor-in-chief for OS/2 Professional magazine and OS/2 Week[5][6] and reported on OS/2 users and technology.

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. [citation needed] 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.[7]

In the fall of 2012, it was reported that Plan B, the production company owned by actor Brad Pitt, had taken an option on a cinematic adaptation of Black's IBM and the Holocaust.[8] Marcus Hinchey, co-writer of the 2010 film All Good Things, was tapped for script-writing responsibilities.[8]

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 syndicated columnist in publications in the United States, Israel, and elsewhere.

Black has also occasionally written on the subject of film and television music, contributing opinion pieces and composer interviews to various print and online publications.[9] An aficionado of musical soundtracks, Black regularly credits specific works which have provided "musical inspiration that propelled the writing" in the introductory notes to each book.[10]

In 2010, in his book The Farhud, the author resurrected the so-called "Forgotten Pogrom," the bloody June 1–2, 1941 pogrom against the Jews of Baghdad, known as The Farhud, sometimes called the Iraqi Kristallnacht. In 2015, Black founded the annual commemoration, International Farhud Day, which he proclaimed at the United Nations in a live globally-streamed event. The remembrance has been recognized and observed in many countries and in 2021, it was reported in the media that 10,000 people in numerous countries lit candles.

The author has coined or popularized certain words and terms. These include: "petropolitical" in lectures during the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo; "digital ghetto" and/or "algorithm ghetto" in 2001 during lectures on the book IBM and the Holocaust, and again at the 2018 Michigan Holocaust Day Commemoration. Black is also the originator of International Farhud Day, June 1, commemorating the 1941 massacre of Jews in Iraq, which was proclaimed at the United Nations in a live globally-streamed event in 2015. He also originated the Yom HaGirush commemoration, November 30, commemorating the expulsion of 850,000 Jews from Arab countries after the State of Israel was declared its independence, in a broadcast of the Edwin Black Show in 2021.[11][12][13][14]

He has written an article critical of Wikipedia, "Wikipedia—The Dumbing Down of World Knowledge."[15]

Selected book tours[edit]

From May 31 to June 3, 2016, it was widely reported, Black embarked upon a 100-hour, four-city, three-country commemoration book tour, this to observe International Farhud Day on the 75th anniversary of the Farhud. Black originated International Farhud Day the year before. The tour began May 31, in the morning in the House of Representatives in Washington, then shifted to the Edmond J. Safra Congregation in New York the evening that same day. On June 2, he led the book and commemoration ceremony in London with the Israeli Embassy at the Lauderdale Rd Synagogue. On June 3 he arrived in Israel for a series of Farhud book and commemoration events that ended with a ceremony in the Israeli Knesset.

In November and December 2014, he went on a 45-event "Human Rights Tour." In North Carolina, Black reportedly appeared nine times in three days speaking out against the persecution of Yazidis, Shia Muslims, and Christians in Iraq, racial injustice in America, and its impact on the November elections, as well as environmental injustice arising out of oil addiction, journalistic ethics in covering human rights, bias against Jews in Israel, and a health care crisis in the Middle East.[16]

In February and March 2014, Black embarked upon a "Parliamentary Tour" in which he appeared at four parliaments in a four-week period, including the House of Commons in London, the European Parliament in Brussels, the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem, and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives in Washington D.C. [17]

Selected awards and citations[edit]


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.[18]

  • 2007: Honorable Mention for General Non-Fiction Books from the ASJA for the book Internal Combustion.[19]
  • 2005: Best World Affairs Book Award from the Great Lakes chapter of the World Affairs Council for Banking on Baghdad.[20]
  • 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.[21]
  • 2003: Outstanding Book Award: General Nonfiction from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) for the book IBM and the Holocaust.[21]
  • 1985: Carl Sandburg Award of the Friends of the Chicago Public Library for best non-fiction book of 1984, for The Transfer Agreement.[22]

Human rights[edit]

  • 2016: "Moral Compass Award" from The Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida for lifelong achievement.[23][24][25]
  • 2011: "Moral Courage Award" for War Against the Weak, granted by The Initiative for Moral Courage, San Diego State University, and Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, The Center for Ethics in Science and Technology, USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, The Anti-Defamation League, California State University, San Marcos Arts & Lectures, Institute for World Justice, Daniel Pearl Music Days, Harmony for Humanity, Armenian Law Students Association, and Thomas Jefferson School of Law.[26]
  • 2011: "Drum Major for Justice Award" for War Against the Weak, granted by North Carolina Central University.[27]
  • 2011: "Justice for All Award," for War Against the Weak, granted in a Congressional ceremony by the American Association of People with Disabilities.[28]


  • 2016: "Special Tribute" from The State of Michigan Legislature, 98th Legislature, for his research and achievement on the topic of Slavery to Freedom, signed and presented by State Representatives Sheldon Neely, Samir Singhm and State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr.
  • 2007: "Commendation Award," from the State of California, for achievement in alternative energy, signed and presented by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • 2006: "Commendation Award," from the City of Los Angeles, for lifetime achievement in community service, signed and presented by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
  • 2003: "Edwin Black Day," from the City of Las Vegas, for lifetime achievement in investigative journalism, signed and presented by Mayor Oscar Goodman.


  • 2010: "Merit Citation" from Hadassah for The Farhud.
  • 2007: "Integrity Award" from American Jewish Congress, for lifetime achievement.
  • 2004: "Dona Gracia Medal" from International Association of Sephardic Progress for Banking on Baghdad.
  • 1984: "Extraordinary Service" from the Jewish War Veterans for The Transfer Agreement.


  • 2007: "The Thomas Edison Award" from the American Jewish Congress for Internal Combustion.
  • 2007: "The Green Globes" from the Harmony Festival, for 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.
  • — (12 February 2001). IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation (First ed.). New York: Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0609607992. LCCN 2001028201. OCLC 45896166. OL 23245381M.
  • War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race. New York: Basic Books, 2003.[29][30][31]
  • 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.

Anthology contributions[edit]

  • 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. Chapter: IBM and the Holocaust.
  • Eric Katz (ed.), Death By Design: Science, Technology, and Engineering in Nazi Germany. New York: Pearson Longman, 2006. Chapter: IBM and the Holocaust.
  • Alan Dershowitz (ed.), What Israel Means to Me: By 80 Prominent Writers, Performers, Scholars, Politicians, and Journalists. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006. Chapter: Israel and Me.
  • Michael T. Wilson (ed.), Democracy: Opposing Viewpoints. Farmington Hills, MI : Greenhaven Press/Thomson Gale, 2006. Chapter: On Democracy.
  • Tobias Daniel Wabbel (ed.), Das Heilige Nichts: Gott nach dem Holocaust (The Holy Nothingness: God after the Holocaust), Düsseldorf, Germany: Patmos Publishers, 2007. Chapter: America's Contribution to Hitler's Holocaust.
  • Arthur L. Caplan (Editor), Robert Arp (Editor), Contemporary Debates in Bioethics, Wiley Blackwell; 2013. Chapter: Human Genetic Enhancement—The Slippery Slope to Genocide.
  • Fernando De Maio (Editor), M.D. Raj C. Shah MD (Editor), John Mazzeo (Editor), David A. Ansell MD (Editor), Community Health Equity: A Chicago Reader Paperback, University of Chicago Press; 2019. Chapter: Racism in Red Blood Cells.
  • Davut Hut (Editor), Zekeriya Kurşun (Editor), Yüzyıllık Sorun: Musul Vilayeti, VakıfBank Kültür Yayınları; 2020. Chapter: The Petropolitical Fate of Mosul.

Contributions to video and film documentaries[edit]


  1. ^ a b Betty Kliewer, "Ethyl Black Inspired a Generation with Holocaust Survival," The Cutting Edge News, Feb. 15, 2005.
  2. ^ a b c d 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 -xx111.
  3. ^ Edwin Black, "Introduction to the 1984 Edition," The Transfer Agreement, pg. xxi.
  4. ^ "Book Discussion on The Transfer Agreement". C-SPAN. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2015. Edwin Black talked about his book The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine (Dialog Press; 25th anniversary ed. August 25, 2009). He pieced together the story of an agreement made between Hitler's government and a group of Zionist leaders in 1933. The agreement called for the transfer of 55,000 Jews and $100 million to Palestine in exchange for calling off a planned economic boycott of Nazi Germany by Jewish organizations.  For his only planned presentation on the release of the 25th anniversary edition of his controversial volume Edwin Black was interviewed by Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt. He also responded to questions from members of the audience and those submitted in advance electronically. Mitchell Bard moderated. This event at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Rockville, Maryland, at 2:30 p.m. Friday, October 30, 2009, was sponsored by the History News Network and cosponsored by Jewish Virtual Library, State of California Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Institute for Religion and Public Policy, Binghamton Social Justice Fund, Spero News, The Auto Channel, Energy Publisher, The Cutting Edge News and Dialog Press
  5. ^ "In Search of Stupidity, Excerpts from Chapter 1". Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
  6. ^ "Windows NT 4.0: Corporate Desktop Standard". Archived from the original on 2014-12-27. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
  7. ^ Black, IBM and the Holocaust, pg. 13.
  8. ^ a b "Brad Pitt to Produce Movie on IBM & the Holocaust," Archived 2014-01-06 at the Wayback Machine The Jewish Voice, Sept. 19, 2012.
  9. ^ "Jerry Goldsmith talks to Edwin Black". Archived from the original on January 15, 2010.
  10. ^ See, for example, Edwin Black, Financing the Flames: How Tax-Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation and Terror in Israel. Washington, DC: Dialog Press, 2013; pg. xxiii, in which he credits specific works by Hans Zimmer, Anthony Gonzalez, and Jerry Goldsmith.
  11. ^ "Yom HaGirush".
  12. ^ "Yom HaGirush—the inside story". 29 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Yom HaGirush—850,000 Jews Expelled from Arab States | the Edwin Black Show".
  14. ^ "June 1 declared International Farhud Day Jun 2015". Archived from the original on 2016-04-24.
  15. ^ Wikipedia—The Dumbing Down of World Knowledge, by Edwin Black.
  16. ^ Monreal, "Best-selling Author Remains a Road Warrior for Human Rights." See also: Mariana Barillas, "Noted Author Edwin Black Schools Students on the Roots of Racism," Archived 2017-09-07 at the Wayback Machine Spero News, December 9, 2014; and David Bloom, "Award-winning journalist talks about Ferguson, the Middle East," Hometown Life.com, December 21, 2014.
  17. ^ Carol Monreal, "Best-selling Author Remains a Road Warrior for Human Rights," Archived 2015-01-09 at the Wayback Machine Spero News, speroforum.com/
  18. ^ "Edwin Black" author search, WorldCat, Online Computer Library Center. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  19. ^ "2007 Awards (archived)". American Society of Journalists and Authors. Archived from the original on 2008-05-09.
  20. ^ "Awards," Edwin Black.com. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  21. ^ a b "ASJA Presents 2003 Writing Awards". American Society of Journalists and Authors. asja.org. Archived from the original on 2013-09-07. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  22. ^ Martin Barillas, "Author Holds Historic Event on The Transfer Agreement," The Cutting Edge.com, October 12, 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  23. ^ "Edwin Black Speaking Series - Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida".
  24. ^ "Holocaust museum presents best-selling author Edwin Black - February 18, 2016 - Florida Weekly". Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  25. ^ "Internationally Acclaimed Author Edwin Black to Speak in Collier and Lee Counties February 21-24, 2016". www.naplesnews.com.
  26. ^ Terrence Sterling, "Investigative Author Edwin Black Headlined Conference, Received First 'Moral Courage' Award," The Cutting Edge, Oct. 30, 2011.
  27. ^ Mariana Barillas, "Noted Author Edwin Black Schools Students on the Roots of Racism," Archived 2017-09-07 at the Wayback Machine Spero News, Dec. 9, 2014.
  28. ^ "McMorris Rodgers Receives "Justice for All" Award From American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)". Archived from the original on February 16, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  29. ^ Plotz, David. "Supremacist Science". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2023-03-02.
  30. ^ "War Against the Weak (Book Review)". Christian Medical Fellowship - cmf.org.uk. Retrieved 2023-03-02.
  31. ^ "Review of Edwin Black: War against the weak". espace.library.uq.edu.au. Retrieved 2023-03-02.
  32. ^ Paul Shore, IBM and the Holocaust, Guerrilla News Network, 2002.

External links[edit]

Media related to Edwin Black at Wikimedia Commons