IBM and the “Holocaust”: Where’s the Beef?
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One of the most popular and well-researched books ever written on the “Holocaust” is IBM and the Holocaust, by investigative journalist Edwin Black. This book asks whether IBM (International Business Machines) was knowingly involved in the so-called Holocaust. Black concludes that IBM was knowingly involved, stating that his book “tells the story of IBM’s conscious involvement—directly and through its subsidiaries—in the Holocaust, as well as its involvement in the Nazi war machine that murdered millions of others throughout Europe.”
This article documents that IBM and the Holocaust fails to prove IBM’s conscious involvement in the “Holocaust.”
Edwin Black did an incredible amount of research in writing IBM and the Holocaust. Because his research involved documents in numerous countries and languages, Black relied on a network of more than 100 researchers and translators in seven countries. Once documents were located, they were copied and sent to Black for his review and analysis. Ultimately, Black assembled more than 20,000 pages of documentation from archives, library manuscript collections, museum files and other repositories (pp. 1, 13).
Black says he personally labored in the archives of England, Israel, Germany and America. A team of extraordinary researchers worked closely with Black, often from 8 A.M. until midnight, as they searched through stacks of documents seeking clues and connecting dots. A number of leading historians and archivists helped Black with their advice, searches of the records, assistance in recruiting others and special accommodations. Black refers to these men and women as “the stalwarts of history” (pp. 2f.).
Black also acknowledges the help and influence of numerous pre-publication reader reviewers. Black utilized help not only from the leading historians of the “Holocaust,” but also from niche experts on various topics, as well as business historians, technical specialists, accountants, legal sources on reparations, and numerous other experts. All of these pre-publication reader reviewers influenced the manuscript in profound ways, immeasurably sharpening its precision (pp. 4, 16).
Black writes that the documentation he uncovered was so extensive that he could have written 20 books. He estimated in 2001 that there were 100,000 additional relevant documents scattered in basements and corporate archives around the United States and Europe. Black warns corporate archivists that these documents are related to a crime and must not be moved, tampered with or destroyed. He says these documents must be transferred to the appropriate archival institutions so that they can be accessed by scholars and war-crimes prosecutors (p. 16).
Working virtually 15 hours per day for over a year, often never leaving his basement for days at a time, eating at his computer screen, Black pursued his obsessive quest for this story. During his labors, “Holocaust” victims were never out of his sight or mind. Black writes (p. 6):
“I acknowledge the 6 million Jews, including my grandparents, and millions of other Europeans who perished. Their memory and the image of their punch cards are with me always.”
Black says that the “Holocaust” would have happened without IBM. He writes:
“If you believe that somehow the Holocaust would not have occurred without IBM, you are more than wrong. The Holocaust would have proceeded—and often did proceed—with simple bullets, death marches, and massacres based on pen and paper persecution.”
However, Black states that the automation and technology IBM provided to Germany played a crucial role in enabling Hitler to murder so many millions of people so quickly (p. 11).
IBM Germany, known in those days as Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen-Gesellschaft, or Dehomag, was responsible for designing the complex devices and specialized applications for the machines it sold to Germany. This was done with the full knowledge of IBM’s New York headquarters. Black writes that Dehomag’s top management was comprised of National-Socialist Party members, and that IBM always understood it was doing business with the upper echelon of Germany’s National-Socialist Party (p. 9).
Dehomag designed and executed systems for Germany in order to identify, sort and quantify the population and separate Jews from Aryans. The IBM machines, known as Hollerith systems, were not delivered to Germany ready to use like typewriters or adding machines. Each Hollerith system used to register Jews for the Reich Statistical Office had to be custom-designed by Dehomag engineers. The Third Reich opened up startling statistical venues for Hollerith machines that had never before been instituted (pp. 47, 49f.).
Hollerith systems could do more than count; they could also schedule, analyze, compute and manage. Hollerith technology became a German administrative way of life, resulting in huge profits for IBM. Dehomag’s growth was aided by a completely new industry within Germany: race science. Identifying who was a Jew became big business overnight. Hollerith technology alone possessed the technology to efficiently provide the answers German raceologists needed (pp. 86f., 89).
In short, Black blames IBM for providing the machinery which enabled National-Socialist Germany to implement the “Holocaust.” He writes (p. 365):
“By early 1942, a change had occurred. Nazi Germany no longer killed just Jewish people. It killed Jewish populations. This was the data-driven denouement of Hitler’s war against the Jews. Hollerith codes, compilations, and rapid sorts [supplied by IBM] had enabled the Nazi Reich to make an unprecedented leap from individual destruction to something on a much larger scale.”
Black also condemns IBM for supporting Germany’s war effort. Black writes (p. 208):
“IBM had almost single-handedly brought modern warfare into the information age. Through its persistent, aggressive, unfaltering efforts, IBM virtually put the “blitz” in the krieg for Nazi Germany. Simply put, IBM organized the organizers of Hitler’s war.”
Thomas J. Watson was president of IBM during Hitler’s reign in Germany. Black, who refers to Thomas Watson as a “corporate scoundrel,” is especially critical of Watson’s management of IBM (pp. 23, 31f.). Watson embarked upon an historic expansion of Dehomag just weeks after Hitler came to power. In fact, IBM headquarters invested more than 7 million Reichsmarks to dramatically expand its German subsidiary’s ability to manufacture machines for Germany. Black writes that Watson’s commitment to growing German operations seemed indefatigable (pp. 50, 67).
Black asks about Watson (p. 69):
“Why would one of America’s leading businessmen and his premier corporation risk all by participating in a Nazi economy sworn to destroy Jewry, subjugate Europe, and dominate all enterprises within its midst?”
Black answers this question (p. 377):
“IBM’s business was never about Nazism. It was never about anti-Semitism. It was always about the money. Before even one Jew was encased in a hard-code Hollerith identity, it was only the money that mattered. And the money did accrue.”
Thus, Black condemns Watson merely because he allowed IBM to maintain lucrative business relations with National-Socialist Germany.
Watson traveled to Germany regularly during the thirties for first-hand information about business conditions in Germany. Germany was IBM’s second most important customer, and Watson did everything he could to reinforce in Germany his image of special American friendship. Consequently, Germany considered Watson a very powerful friend and ally. Hitler in 1937 honored Thomas Watson with a medal—the Merit Cross of the German Eagle with Star—created to “honor foreign nationals who made themselves deserving of the German Reich.” This medal ranked second in prestige only to Hitler’s German Grand Cross (pp. 72f., 111, 131).
The advent of war forced Watson to return his medal to Hitler. On June 6, 1940, Watson sent a reluctant letter to Hitler by registered mail and also released his letter to the newspapers. This letter said that “the present policies of your government are contrary to the causes for which I have been working and for which I received the decoration.” However, Black writes that Watson never asked IBM executives to stop trading with the Hitler regime during the war. Watson only asked that his executives stop informing IBM’s New York office about their business activities with Germany (pp. 217, 394).
Black makes numerous misstatements about Hitler and the Third Reich in his book. For example, Black writes (p. 44):
“When Hitler came to power in January 1933, he made an open promise to create a Master Race, dominate Europe, and decimate European Jewry.”
Black also writes (p. 93):
“Germany wanted more than a society of Aryans, it wanted a master race: tall, strong, blond, and blue-eyed, intellectually and physically dominant.”
Black’s statement that Germany claimed to be or wanted to create a “master race” is a myth. Hitler never made any such claim or used any term remotely resembling “master race.” Instead, Hitler used the term “Aryan” to represent all the Germanic peoples of Europe, including the British, Dutch, Swedes, Norwegians, Fins, Swiss and all other European people of Germanic origin. The term “master race,” so dearly beloved by anti-Germans, was never even used in SS training.
Black’s statement that Hitler had wanted to dominate or conquer Europe is also not true. In reality, Hitler’s diplomatic and military actions were in response to the actions of the Austrian, Czech and Polish leaders. US-historian David Hoggan wrote:
[Austrian Chancellor Kurt] Schuschnigg had challenged Germany with a fraudulent anti-German plebiscite scheme, and Hitler responded by intervening in Austria. [Czech President Edvard] Beneš challenged Germany with a Czech mobilization based on the false claim of German troop concentrations on the Czech frontier. Hitler responded with his decision to liberate the Sudetenland from Czech rule in 1938. [Polish Foreign Minister Józef] Beck challenged Germany with a partial mobilization and a threat of war, and Hitler, who deeply desired friendship with Poland, refrained from responding at all. It was not until Beck joined the British encirclement front that Hitler took precautionary military measures against the Polish threat. It would have been incompatible with the security of Germany to refrain from doing so, after the formation of a hostile Anglo-Polish combination. The charge that Hitler did not know how to wait can be applied more appropriately to the Austrian, Czech, and Polish leaders.
US-historian Harry Elmer Barnes agreed with Hoggan’s analysis. Barnes wrote:
“The primary responsibility for the outbreak of the German-Polish War was that of Poland and Britain, while for the transformation of the German-Polish conflict into a European War, Britain, guided by [British Foreign Secretary Lord] Halifax, was almost exclusively responsible.”
Barnes further stated:
“It has now been irrefutably established on a documentary basis that Hitler was no more responsible for war in 1939 than the Kaiser was in 1914, if indeed as responsible. […] Hitler’s responsibility in 1939 was far less than that of Beck in Poland, Halifax in England, or even [French Prime Minister] Daladier in France.”
Black’s statement that Hitler made an open promise to “decimate European Jewry” is also not true. Hitler’s Final Solution to the Jewish problem was to force every Jew to leave Germany. Since Hitler felt that Jews were the driving force behind Communism, Hitler wanted Jews to leave Germany in order to eliminate their subversive influence on Germany. Also, Hitler and many commentators believed that Germany’s economic program could not have succeeded by leaving intact the Jewish power structure in Germany.
Where’s the Proof?
Black writes (p. 23):
“For Jews, Hitler had a special plan: total destruction. There were no secrets in Hitler’s vision. He broadcast them loudly to the world.”
Black also writes that by November 1939 “millions of Jews were now clearly earmarked for death by virtue of Hitler’s oppressive measures” (p. 200). However, Black’s bestselling and internationally acclaimed book provides no credible evidence to document the “Holocaust.”
Black writes that Auschwitz was a labor camp, a transit camp, as well as an extermination camp where Jews were immediately exterminated in gas chambers upon arrival (p. 351). The forensic evidence, however, refutes the possibility of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Reports, articles, testimony, books and videos from Fred Leuchter, Walter Lüftl, Germar Rudolf, Friedrich Paul Berg, Dr. William B. Lindsey, Carlo Mattogno, John C. Ball, Dr. Arthur Butz, Dr. Nicholas Kollerstrom, Wolfgang Fröhlich, Richard Krege and David Cole have conclusively shown that there were no homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The books The Real Case for Auschwitz by Carlo Mattogno and The Chemistry of Auschwitz by Germar Rudolf are probably the best books available for anyone wanting to make a thorough study of this subject.
Black writes that the Aktion Reinhardt camps in Poland such as Treblinka were operated for the sole purpose of immediate extermination by gas chambers (p. 351). However, the Aktion Reinhardt camps were transit camps rather than extermination camps. The demographic studies, the statements from Heinrich Himmler, the reports of transfers of Jews from the Aktion Reinhardt camps to Auschwitz and Majdanek, the lack of credible forensic evidence that mass exterminations occurred in these camps, the photographic and engineering evidence, the impossibility of disposing of so many bodies in such a short period of time, the relative lack of secrecy and security in the camps, and the small size of the areas where the bodies were supposedly buried all indicate that the Aktion Reinhardt camps were transit camps.
The number of 6 million Jews who died in the “Holocaust” is frequently mentioned in Black’s book. However, the figure of 6 million Jewish deaths had been used and predicted long before the end of World War II. An ancient Jewish prophecy had promised the Jews their return to the Promised Land after a loss of 6 million of their people. According to the book Breaking the Spell by Nicholas Kollerstrom, publications and speakers had referred to the death or persecution of 6 million Jews on at least 166 occasions from 1900 until the end of 1945.
The book The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry by Walter Sanning is probably the most scholarly study ever written of 20th century Jewish demography, especially in its analysis of World War II related Jewish population changes. Sanning bases his study almost exclusively on Allied, Zionist and pro-Zionist West German sources. His analysis includes evidence given by the wartime U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, the Institute of Jewish Affairs, the American Jewish Year Book, official census publications, and the pro-Zionist Institute for Contemporary History in Munich. Sanning keeps his book as free of emotion as possible in order to contribute to a genuine discussion underlying the charge of German genocide.
While it would be impossible for anyone to give an exact number of Jews who died in the German camps during World War II, The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry proves that not anywhere close to 6 million Jews died during the war. Sanning calculates that the worldwide losses suffered by Jews during the Second World War are in the neighborhood of 1¼ million. He estimates that 15,967,000 Jews were alive in 1941 before the German invasion of the Soviet Union, and that the Jewish population was reduced to approximately 14,730,000 after the war.
Importantly, Sanning shows that many of these Jewish losses were caused not by a program of German genocide, but by Soviet barbarism. Sanning states that hundreds of thousands of Jews lost their lives during the Soviet deportation to the east or in the Siberian labor and concentration camps. Sanning concludes that the food supply, shelter, and clothing provided to the Jewish inmates in the Soviet camps was woefully inadequate, and that medical attention was almost completely lacking. Sanning’s conclusion is supported by Jewish historian Gerald Reitlinger, who said: “In Southern Siberia the death-rate was very high for […] Jews […].”
Sanning also writes that Jewish sources document that a minimum of 200,000 Jews died while fighting in Allied armies during the war. These Jewish combat deaths cannot be attributed to a German program of genocide against the Jews. Thus, the 6 million Jewish deaths mention by Black in the “Holocaust” is a ridiculous exaggeration which has no basis in reality.
Edwin Black writes in the dedication to his book:
“To my daughter, Rachel, who will read this book, and to six million who will not.”
IBM and the Holocaust provides no credible proof that Germany murdered 6 million Jews. Black, whose Jewish Polish parents both survived the so-called Holocaust (p. 16), fails to document in his book a German program of genocide against European Jewry. Like most other Holocaust historians, Black merely assumes the “Holocaust” happened without credibly documenting its existence. Instead, we are supposed to assume that the so-called Holocaust happened, and that IBM should be demonized merely for conducting normal business operations with the Third Reich.
 Black, Edwin, IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation, New York: Crown Publishers, 2001, p. 7; all subsequent page numbers in the text from there.
 Bradberry, Benton L., The Myth of German Villainy, Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, 2012, pp. 268-269.
 Schmidt, Hans, SS Panzergrenadier: A True Story of World War II, Pensacola, Fla.: Hans Schmidt Publications, 2001, p. 52.
 Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 312.
 Barnes, Harry Elmer, Barnes against the Blackout, Costa Mesa, Cal.: The Institute for Historical Review, 1991, p. 222.
 Ibid., pp. 227, 249.
 Schmidt, Hans, Hitler Boys in America: Re-Education Exposed, Pensacola, Fla.: Hans Schmidt Publications, 2003, p. 58.
 Mattogno, Carlo, The Real Case for Auschwitz: Robert van Pelt’s Evidence from the Irving Trial Critically Reviewed, 2nd ed., Uckfield: Castle Hill Publishers, 2015; https://shop.codoh.com/book/the-real-case-for-auschwitz-en/389/.
 Rudolf, Germar, The Chemistry of Auschwitz: The Technology and Toxicology of Zyklon B and the Gas Chambers. A Crime-Scene Investigation, Uckfield: Castle Hill Publishers, 2017 https://shop.codoh.com/book/the-chemistry-of-auschwitz-en/389/.
 Wear, John, “What Happened to Jews Sent to the Aktion Reinhardt Camps?”, Inconvenient History, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2020.
 Blech, Benjamin, The Secret of Hebrew Words, Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1991, p. 214.
 Kollerstrom, Nicholas, Breaking the Spell: The Holocaust, Myth and Reality, Uckfield, UK: Castle Hill Publishers, 2014, pp. 158-174.
 Nordling, Carl O., “How Many Jews Died in the German Concentration Camps?”, The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 11, No. 3, Fall 1991, pp. 335-337.
 Sanning, Walter N., The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 2015, p. 195.
 Ibid., p. 195.
 Ibid., pp. 103-106.
 Reitlinger, Gerald, The Final Solution, New York: A. S. Barnes & Company, Inc., 1961, p. 499.
 Sanning, Walter N., The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 2015, p. 106.
Additional information about this document
|Title:||IBM and the “Holocaust”: Where’s the Beef?, A Book Review|
|Sources:||A version of this article was originally published in the March/April 2021 issue of The Barnes Review.|
|First posted on CODOH:||May 27, 2021, 5:19 a.m.|