IBM and the holocaust

IBM and the Holocaust

IBM and the Holocaust
IBM and the holocaust is a story that was written in form of a book about the association between a powerful corporation from America and Nazi Germany. This story entails the operation of this American corporation named the International Business Machine its dealing with Germany plus other European countries during the government of Adolf Hitler. This story also explains how the IBM used technology to expedite Nazi killing. The alliance between the Nazi of Germany and the IBM from America started from the early days of Adolf Hitler rule . Indeed, in the year nineteen ninety three, immediately after Adolf Hitler assumed to power this association started and continued up to the time the World War II started. As per Edwin Black in this book narrating the incidences and mystery surround the relationship between the Nazi Germany and this corporation from America, he states that the relationship between the two went beyond provision of technology. The two went ahead to form a non-formidable strategic alliance. During this period the Nazi exercised its dominant dictatorship rule in Germany, on the other hand IBM enjoyed global monopoly. The main dealing of this company was on the arena of the technology and production of punch cards as mentioned earlier. The relationship between the two had been a rich part of the history especially that of Jews and best narrated by those who survived the massacre . For instance, in his research Edwin a global author of the book IBMs and Holocaust and more importantly a son of two European Survivors encountered the punch cards at Washington in the Holocaust Museum. This created the desire to research and learns more about the relationship between the IBM and the holocaust saga that happened during the popular Nazi of Germany regime.
History of Punch Cards
Historically the first punch card was developed in the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety by a man named Hollerith who was a German based America but living in Washington. This machine was for the first time created to help the United Sates Census Bureau in the conducting of the census that took place in the same year. This was approximate a decade after the introduction of the computer technology and this expertise of the punch card was integral in simplifying the census work . By the use of a number of punch holes, a given card recorded a single person religion, occupation, gender, and nationality. Then the machines counted and sorted the cards through processing until it distinctively displays a clear outlook of the whole population. After sorting, it was easy to highlight any given group from the whole population and their locations and places of work. For many years, this technology developed by Hollerith was widely used globally not only in undertaking the population and counting of people but also in other financial corporations and organizations. They were very important and useful in financial accountancy not only in the United States but across the entire world and more specifically in the countries that were already developed by then. For a long time, Hollerith did not sell out his innovative machines but only leased to people who wanted to use this technology. However, in the year one thousand, nine hundred and eleven, he sold out the machines and merged to form Computing Tabulation Recording Company . Under the leadership of Thomas Watson, a former salesman especially dealing with sewing machines, the Computing Tabulation Recording Company was transformed to the International Business Machines Corporation. Being a ruthless businessman, Thomas Watson made sure that he created paternalistic hierarchy in the partnered company that was formed. The IBM fraternity was formed not only by the partners who had come together with an aim of doing business but also family and their siblings who were to be trained and enriched with the spirit of the corporation.
In the year one thousand nine hundred and twenty two, due to the collapse of the Germany currency that resulted from hyperinflation in the republic, Watson and his company ventured in the country. Fist it started by taking over from Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschafts a company that made use of punch card technology . It is only later that this company would associate with the Nazi especially after the Hitler reign came into rule. Notably, Watson changed the adopted Germany Corporation into International Business Machines flagship and also increased it production to thrice its original. Surprisingly, Watson was granted the opportunity by the Nazi Germany to look at the matters concerning plane regimentation, surveillance, supervision, and government control. The presence of this company and its technological capacity was good news to the ruler Adolf Hitler who wanted to spread his power out of the Germany and across the Europe. Through the use of sorters and punch card, Watson Company almost controlled more than ninety percent of the total world business transactions . Watson cannot be termed as a fascist but can be referred to as a ruthless businessman who cared little but much about the profit. As a result, the presence of the authoritarian and dictatorship government and rule in Germany gave this man an avenue to make more profit as he could have wished. Indeed, by the virtue of being the manager of the IBM a body that was not only leading in the United States of American but across the entire world, Watson was a respectable man and more prominently one of the president advisors.
IBM in Germany
In the year nineteen thirty three, the regime of the Adolf Hitler was to undertake census in the entire Germany with the main aid being to identify the Jewish as opposed to attaining the total population numbers. The process was to start with registering all the citizen of the main state in Germany, Prussia. Dehomag was entrusted with the contract to undertake this activity. Undertaking this activity was just like sampling to show how Nazi and the Dehong would work together in future in the activity of undertaking the census. The two parties collaborated well in ensuring that the statistics were taken as the Nazi rule could have wished. This company undertook the production and labeling of punch cards that were later used in the assessing the total population of the Germany . As the matters become more challenging and more technological advancement were constantly required, the IBM despite being based in the United States of America, it kept an eye on the process and supervised different events. Indeed, from time to time, Dehomag technicians and workers were constantly taken to United States to undergo further training. As all this activities went on and the good name of the IBM continued to grow in the America, its collaboration and work with Nazi in Germany remained a secret that was only known to chosen few. The hand of IBM in the Dehong of Germany remained a top secret. Dehong Company was structured and organized in a way that even to the Nazi it appeared to be an independent organization but the IBM of United Sates managed and controlled this corporation. As a result, it was able to evade the trade restrictions that were created between the Germany and United States especially after the start of war.
International Business Machine and its allies are historically known to develop systems and technologies that facilitated in the killing of people especially the Jews in Germany. Gradually, they designed a system for identification, which was then followed by a catalog program and later selection. IBM is further believed to have helped the Nazi to fight in the World War II but later this organization tried to hide what it had done. This depicted the poor business ethics that were adopted by this international organization, contributing to genocide and then having a hand in global war was not only unethical but also uncouth. According to an attorney based at United Sates and named Suzette, argues that the role of IBM in the Nazi genocide was somehow complicated. He argues that, for the Nazi to creatively and effectively use the punch cards that were developed by IBM, they must have been some consultation and help from a technical officials from the IBM. Most of these technicians had the proper knowledge on how the manufactured system could be successfully used. As per the research that was conducted by Black, he reinstates that if were not for the help of the IBM Company and its aid to the Nazi, Adolf Hitler reign could not have extorted Jews with such an ease . Moreover, he further states that the process of differentiating and getting the Jews could have been more challenging. These machines products of IBM were used and involved in almost all stages that lead to Jews persecution. First, by the aid of them, Nazi regime collected all the necessary information about the Jews a step that helped in reaching them. A block was enhanced for the Jews who were working in various organizations, government, and professionals and later it was followed by Jews dislodgment from their original homes and then being placed into ghettos .
Through the use of the IBM technology, the railways were well organized in order to that Jews could be conveyed without a lot of commotions. They were placed in the concentration camps that were well-organized and the tally of the new prisoners was taken on daily basis and slave laborers were also allocated. In addition, the tally of the prisoners who died in the process of transportation and eviction was also kept. IBM was integral in the rule of Nazi and more importantly the power of Adolf Hitler. From a keen perspective, it is doubtable that Hitler could have managed to gain all that information about the where about of Jews without any technological assistance . It is historically known that the IBM Company rented, serviced and exalted not less than two thousand sets of multi-machine that they were their products in the entire Germany and other European countries that were under the power of Nazi. More than 1.5 billion punch cards were produced by this company annually and most of them were custom based.
1939 Census
In the year one thousand nine hundred and thirty seven, the second nationwide census was ordered by the Nazi regime. This was a tool of war that had been well created and prepared by the ruler Adolf Hitler. For the Jews community, it was the last decisive identification process that could later seal their fate. In order to ensure that everything was done thoroughly and all the Jews were well traced, IBM bought punch cards that summed to not less than ninety million, seventy six multipliers, sixty tabulators and seventy card sorters . This contract between Nazi and IBM was valued to be worth 3.5 million that approximate fourteen million dollars in the current currency. This would guarantee a conclusive report about the total number and the location of Jews, which was the main target of the dictator Hitler. Therefore, the Hitler government managed to get a conclusive report of the Austrian Jews and where they were located in order to enforce the eviction process . After a series of postponements and a lot of preparations that lasted for not less than two years, finally the planned census took place in the year nineteen thirty nine. Approximate seven hundred and fifty thousand census takers got involved in the process. Twenty two million households and more than eighty million people from Austria, Germany, Saar, and Sudentenland were involved. This was the first ever census to be conducted by the Dehomag and even entailed recording of racial ancestry per household. One of the highlightable results of this census was identification of more than three hundred and fifty thousand people of the so called racial Jew origin. Moreover, this group of people was also broken down into sub groups based on gender and further subdivided into either Full Jews or Shades of Jews. This process was repeated a series of times in all countries that were under the mighty rule of the Nazi, Hitler, and IBM made use of its technology to make sure that all the people with Jewish origin were identified.
IBM Death Machine
Right from the start, IBM and Dehomag knew what Hitler was preparing for and they understood that he meant war. It is known that the Nazi regime had approached the Dehomag in order to plan on how the company could be protected and keep it running even after been attacked. Due to the eruption of war in the month of September the year nineteen thirty nine, the profit of the IBM soared due to the active participation of Germany in this war. Regardless of the locations such as Sweden, Romania, Poland, and Hungry the Nazi war instrument relied abundantly on the IBM expertise. Through the IBM technology, it was possible and easier to allocate equipment to Germany war soldiers and more importantly aided in identifying and locating the Jews. Moreover, as discussed earlier, the technology was still used in conveying the arrested Jews to the death camps. Despite some people arguing that by considering the ruthless nature of Hitler he could still have executed the genocide without the help of IBM, it is not debatable that Nazi could not have managed to commit the act as it did . As a result of the good technology that was made available to the Nazi administration aided in killing a lot of innocent Jews by the ruthless Hitler and his regime while others died in the process of transportation to the death camps. This marked one of the main and most popular genocide that have ever been registered in the history. The end of war did not mean the end of the use of the IBM technological machines. However, this company managed to make a lot of profit since it was possible to recollect all the machines it had used in assisting the Nazi of Germany . For example, by the end of the year nineteen forty six, Dehomag a subsidiary of IBM was believed to be worth not less than 56.6 million Reich Marks approximately two hundred and thirty million dollars at the current denotations. In addition to salvaging its machines and gaining a lot of profit, the other main achievement of this association was keeping the secret concerning their involvement in the holocaust saga. These were remarkable achievements from a corporation that wanted to protects its global image and outlook.
After the involvement of this multi-national company in the Nazi holocaust, IBM has tried to distance itself from the involvement in the genocide that contributed to killing of a lot of people. For instance, after the report provided by Edwin Black, IBM have tried to dismiss this allegation and termed the Blacks work as propaganda that is based on individual reasoning and coordinated campaign. However, this report was a coincidence since another case had been filled in the United States of America to compel the IBM Company to bear full responsibility of the survivors and people affected by the holocaust incident. One of the arguments they have raised is that their German subsidy was adopted by the Nazi regime long time even before the start of war . However, as per Black, the IBM remained the controller and administrator of the Dehomag until the late nineteen forty two.
To sum up, the support of the International Business Machine company and its aid through the technology played a major role in the genocide against the Jewish. Despite the Nazi regime ruler Adolf Hitler personally hating the Jews, his plans to wipe them out could not had been very effective if the IBM did not offer its support. Considering the fact that this association knew that Hitler meant war and was ready to use their technology as an avenue to execute his personal goals it was unethical for this company to have allowed it to go up to that far. Moreover, bearing in mind that the machines and technology of IBM were integral in the world that was just experiencing and enjoying the new technology, Watson could have explored other avenues of gaining profit. However, it is not only good behavior but reasonable for this organization to be responsibilities of what they did and at least aid the families of those who were assaulted and the survivors. Considering the fact that they had accumulated a lot of money and profit from the rich Nazi, portion of this money should be used to show that they are concerned. All in all, if the IBM could have limited the use of its technology, a lot of innocent lives could have been saved.

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Technology and Culture 43, no. 1 (2002): 150-154.
Black, Edwin. IBM and the Holocaust: The strategic alliance between Nazi Germany and
America’s most powerful corporation. Aware Journalism, 2001.
Dillard, Jesse F. “Professional services, IBM, and the Holocaust.” Journal of Information
Systems 17, no. 2 (2003): 1-16.
Herf, Jeffrey. The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.
Heinsohn, Gunnar. “What makes the Holocaust a uniquely unique genocide?” Journal of
Genocide Research 2, no. 3 (2000): 411-430.

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