Barnes and Noble is a great bookstore, providing a variety of historical books. The one I discovered after church today was entitled, IBM and the Holocaust, by Edwin Black. He, through investigative journalism, discovered how Hitler and the Nazis were able to round up Jews and their assets. IBM played a large role in the process after Hitler came into power in 1933.
Census takers provided information to technicians who used IBM technology called a “Hollerith” punch-card machine. The system enabled Hitler to classify Jews who practiced their faith, were born Jews, intermarriage of Jews, and even Jews who had converted to Christianity. The German Jewish population gave inventory of their possessions and Hitler readily knew this information. Instead of “hanging chads” for a presidential election, Hitler and the Nazis began beating and robbing innocent Jews before eventually murdering them and plundering their goods…all with the aid of IBM’s technology.
According to Mr. Black, IBM has never denied his journalistic claims. His book is in several countries around the world and in many languages.
The way I see it, the biblical verse: “the love of money is the root of all evil,” applies. IBM apparently looked the other way, collected the money for the card-sorting machines and the servicing of them. I can’t blame IBM for the Holocaust, but I do hold them accountable for their part in the most horrifying event in history.
My first electric typewriter was an IBM with a rotating ball. I’m glad I no longer own it, because I would have to get rid of it with the knowledge I’ve just acquired. I wouldn’t own a Volkswagon today, either. But that’s another story…same kind of connection, though.
God has promised to bless those who bless the Jewish people and curse those who curse them. Nothing goes by the Lord unnoticed. Instead of holed cards, He keeps Holy “Books.”
What is your impression of IBM now? What can we learn from this bit of history?