Re: _IBM and the Holocaust_

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Feb 20 2001 - 16:45:47 MST

Jim Fehlinger wrote:

> I picked up a copy of this book today:
> It was published last Monday, Feb. 12. A passage from the Introduction (pp. 10-12):
> "I was haunted by a question whose answer had long eluded historians.
> The Germans always had the lists of Jewish names... But how did the
> Nazis get the lists? For decades, no one has known. Few have asked...
> I confronted the reality of IBM's involvement one day in 1993 in Washington
> at the United States Holocaust Museum. There, in the very first exhibit,
> an IBM Hollerith D-11 card sorting machine... was permanently displayed.
> Clearly affixed to the machine's front panel glistened an IBM nameplate...
> [A]lthough 15 million people, including most major Holocaust experts, have
> seen the display, and in spite of the best efforts of leading Museum historians,
> little more was understood about the provocative display other than the brief
> curator's description at the exhibit and a few pages of supportive research...

Frankly I find this to be rather a lame sort of blamology. IBM was not the only maker of card sorters in that
day, and IBM card sorters were also of immense importance to the Enigma decoding programs at Bletchley Park, as
well as Richard Feynman's work on doing calculations for the Manhattan Project.

Blaming a technology or its manufacturer a cheap and lame game to play. For example, when Hitler took power,
the only manufacturer of Luger semi-automatic pistols was a Jewish owned firm, which was confiscated from them.
Should the Jews who had owned that firm be blamed for the many Jews who were shot by SS officers with those
pistols they made for them prior to the Nazi takeover? Its rather ludicrous to play the blame game to this
extent, and implicating IBM for the Holocaust is of the same scope.

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