Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “IBM and the Holocaust” as Want to Read:
IBM and the Holocaust
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

IBM and the Holocaust

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  786 ratings  ·  116 reviews
IBM & the Holocaust tells of IBM's strategic alliance with Nazi Germany--beginning in 1933 in the 1st weeks that Hitler came to power & continuing well into WWII. As the 3rd Reich embarked upon its plan of conquest & genocide, IBM & its subsidiaries helped create enabling technologies, step-by-step, from the identification & cataloging programs of the 3 ...more
592 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2001)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about IBM and the Holocaust, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about IBM and the Holocaust

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootThe Disappearing Spoon by Sam KeanGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
History of Science
90th out of 217 books — 141 voters
Stiff by Mary RoachEats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne TrussThe Professor and the Madman by Simon WinchesterSalt by Mark KurlanskyThe Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
You Read a Book about What?
240th out of 874 books — 390 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,927)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Erik Graff
Sep 13, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Erik by: Erik Flindt Badger
Shelves: history
This was not a fun book. Following the substantiation of the claim that IBM and subsidiaries knowingly facilitated the murder of millions of Jews, Socialists, Communists, pacifists, prisoners of war, gypsies, homosexuals and other "deviants" as part of their normal business practices is almost too much to take--not because it is difficult or because the proofs are obscure--they are not, but because this is too much the way of the corporate world, our American world. Similar practices are going o ...more
Natalie Zarowny
This book is incredibly important as the first comprehensive work on the subject of IBM and its unfortunate involvement in the Holocaust.
In the introduction to the novel, Black warns us that, “Skipping around in this book will only lead to flawed and erroneous conclusions. So if you intend to skim, or rely on selected sections, please do not read the book at all.” (11) This is good advice in an ideal world. However, it would take a normal person such a very long time to read this, and that’s get
...more
11
It all started with a contest. In 1884, the U.S. Census Bureau wanted to streamline its operations in preparation for the 1890 census. They held a contest, offering prize money for the method or device which could best improve their efficiency. Twenty-four year old Herman Hollerith had been at the Bureau for a few years already, and had been thinking about this for some time. He observed that once data came to the bureau from its door-to-door census takers, it was subject to a slow and error-pro ...more
Siobhan
The first time I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, I was struck by an IBM tabulating machine. So that's how they did it, I thought. That's how they kept track of everyone.

Edwin Black visited the same museum, stood before the display of the same machine, and did a very different thing: he used that incident to write this book. As the son of Holocoaust survivors, it's not surprising that Black's reaction was strong. He recalled standing in front of the display for quite a long time,
...more
Bree
Jul 13, 2008 Bree rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone especially those with an interest in the holocaust
omg i might never buy another IBM product again...truely terrifying and appalling.

This book actually made me physically ill. The thought that the Nazi extermination machine was powered by one of the most influential men of that era, not only in the US but abroad, by a man who not just communicated and recieved a medal from Hilter but also supported the Nazi (German ppl)regime and knew what was going on to the Jewish people, played both sides of the ocean (American being his number 1 customer and
...more
Gabriel Schoenfeld
Edwin Black greatly exaggerates the significance of I.B.M.'s contribution to the Holocaust. A case in point: he asserts that, as World War II progressed, "eventually, every Nazi combat order, bullet and troop movement was tracked on an I.B.M. punch card system." Every bullet? It is, moreover, simply not meaningful to declare, as Black does, that by 1939 or thereabouts, Germany, using IBM's Hollerith machines, ''had automated virtually its entire economy.'' One would not say such a thing even abo ...more
Niklas Pivic
From the beginning of this book, two paragraphs spring to mind to not only contrast the mind of what I deem as the psychopathology behind major corporations, but what also separates murderous decisions from having to be the one at the end of the whip, so to speak:

Quickly, Cheim learned the method. Every day, transports of slave laborers were received. Prisoners were identified by descriptive Hollerith cards, each with columns and punched holes detailing nationality, date of birth, marital status
...more
Jessie
How did the Nazis know where to go to find the Jews? It wasn’t luck—it was technology. IBM provided the technology that enabled the Nazi regime to slaughter millions of people. Would the Holocaust still have happened if IBM hadn’t provided their tabulators to the Third Reich? Certainly. But to such a massive scale? Maybe. If the trains had not been so impeccably scheduled, and the minorities so rapidly censused and processed, the Nazis might have been slowed down a bit. This was a heavy read for ...more
Erwin
IBM and the Hollocast

Very interesting story. I would not typically choose to read something that sounds so sensationalized, and though there are some overly dramatic sections, it is a very interesting read.

IBMs first large customer was the US census - IBM supplied "Hollerith" punch card reading/sorting machines to the census bureau.

During the holocaust, the Nazi's would walk into a town and know the names of all the Jewish people they were supposed to intern. The names came from various versions
...more
Dan Sharber
this book was written for skeptics. because of that it is meticulously documented and everything down to personal correspondence is painstakingly recreated. and if you are a skeptic, you should be convinced. if you already believed though and were not at all surprised that corporations made money with the nazis then this book can become tedious. to me what was most interesting was not that ibm colluded with the nazis but rather that high tech was used in the total destruction of a people. the sh ...more
David Bales
A rather chilling and exahaustingly-researched book about how I.B.M. aided the Nazi regime in Germany from 1933 on, reaping gigantic profits from its sale of tabulation machines and cardboard punch cards that were used in everything from racial censuses to coordinating the movements and whereabouts of millions of prisoners in the concentration camp system. After 1941, I.B.M.'s German subsidiaries funnelled the proftis to the corporation via Switzerland, all the while I.B.M.'s chairman served as ...more
aaron
May 01, 2007 aaron added it
Another fun one. Amazing amount of research, and while it certainly criticizes IBM, the presentation is more historical than political or emotional.

I *did* leave this book convinced that IBM had a dark, dirty beginning, which only played into my generally negative view of most multinational corporations, and my disappointment and the crap people will do for money. Nevertheless, it's a really fascinating book; one way in particular being just getting a really detailed description of the machinat
...more
Paul
I’ve always heard all the accounts of those famous corporate behemoths that have been around forever, and that have profited from the Holocaust—companies like BMW, Kodak, IG Farben/Bayer, and our own American company, Ford. To this day, there are still many people who boycott those companies for their part in what is probably the most heinous chapter in the history of humanity.

One company, though, that I’ve never associated with that list was IBM. Reading this book was, therefore, quite the eye
...more
Catherine
This is a big book. Commit to the time it will take to read, understand and process it, as it is worth it.

Through in depth research and evidence gathering the author has laid out a clear timeline of IBMs decisions, intentions and values when it consciously chose to assist the nazis. This was not just a business decision it was a moral choice to put profit before people.

Where other companies (Hugo Boss, Estée Lauder and others) were in the war zone and continued working and abetting the regime -
...more
Nerio
Very sad true about how the most powerful American corporation contributed to the plans of a sicko only for a profit....
Jill
The author and his massive research team compile extraordinary records on how computer behemoth IBM pursued business as business developing tools to track ethnic profiles for its German government client. Black stays very focused on the material and the consequences of this type of data collection with no responsibility on the part of International Business Machines for the outcome of such an enterprise. Prior to IBM involvement, the German record keeping system was on cards, where individuals w ...more
Erwin
IBM and the Hollocast

Very interesting story. I would not typically choose to read something that sounds so sensationalized, and though there are some overly dramatic sections, it is a very interesting read.

IBMs first large customer was the US census - IBM supplied "Hollerith" punch card reading/sorting machines to the census bureau.

During the holocaust, the Nazi's would walk into a town and know the names of all the Jewish people they were supposed to intern. The names came from various versions
...more
Karen
This is another hard read from Edwin Black, but it is a very important topic. It is a troubling topic in so many ways. First and formost, to know that corporations you grew up with aided the Nazi extermination of Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Gypsies, and others borders on the unfathomable. To see such raw greed, with a complete lack of any moral fiber, is alarming.
Thomas Watson was such a person. He was the president of IBM, and continued operations in Nazi Germany, throughout the war, using decep
...more
Nick
Whilst at time dry due to the author quoting (important) numbers and statistics, this book is an unparalleled look at the entire second world war from a previously unexplored point of view - that of Thomas J. Watson and his company, IBM.

Watson wore many hats over the course of the war - Industrialist, Peace Activist, War-monger, Decorated Nazi hero, American Patriot and, potentially, un-charged war criminal. His company, under his careful and precise micro management, provided the technology, t
...more
David Buccola
This is a fascinating book on so many levels. It has long been known that IBM and many other American companies did business with the NAZIS. But I had no idea they were so instrumental in providing the technology needed to carry out the Holocaust. Edwin Black does a superb job of weaving this tale.

My biggest problem with the book is Black's naiveté. At one point he writes, "Ironically, Hitler's fascism resonated with men of great vision, such as Henry Ford." There was nothing ironic here. Ford,
...more
Héctor
HOLLERITH

Casi todos los campos de concentración nazis tenían un departamento para el sistema Hollerith conocido como el Hollerith Abteilung. En algunos campos, como Dachau y Storkow, se instalaron hasta dos docenas de clasificadoras, tabuladoras e impresoras de IBM. En otros sólo trabajaban con perforadoras y sometían a sus tarjetas a sedes centrales, como Mauthausen o Berlín. Casi siempre el equipo de IBM estaba localizado dentro del campo mismo, consignado a un departamento especial llamado Of
...more
Jim
Fucking IBM

Edwin Black, an expert on the 3rd Reichs finances brings us a chilling expose of the alliance between IBM and the Reich. Telling of IBM's rise under the helm of Thomas Watson, the protege of Robber Barons, thanks to "Hollerith Punch Card Technology". Holleriths were precursors to modern day computers, and where vital in orginization and planning for large orginizations as well as mobilizing statistics for practical purpose. With the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party in 1933, Wa
...more
Garth
This book describes IBM's connivance with the Third Reich's extensive use of IBM Hollerith machine technology, not only in the planning and and execution of the second world war, but more horrifyingly with the running of census programmes which efficiently identified Jews, facilitated their shipment to death and labour camps, and managed the allocation of slave labour.

"IBM's business was never about Nazism. It was never about anti-Semitism. It was always about the money." Regardless, it's hard t
...more
Steele Dimmock
This is written with a lot of hyperbole and impassioned prose when the actual mechanics behind IBMs involvement with Nazi Germany, even to the casual observer, seem stoic and indifferent.

It does help answer a rather important question regarding the holocaust, how did the Nazis know who were Jewish and who weren't?

An interesting story with the facts far too compelling to be merely conspiracy theory.
Erin
considering it has the word holocaust in the title, you should know up front that this book is fairly horrifying. "exhaustively researched" is definitely an apt description - sometimes to the story's detriment because you get bogged down in correspondence and statistics which, while important, get dry.

after i had gotten about 200 some pages in, i just wanted to finish it. what i found most chilling was the occasional inclusion of some kind of detailed account of an atrocity within the bigger st
...more
Zac
The writing is a bit dull in parts, but very informative. It's quite shocking how deeply IBM and its subsidiaries were involved with Nazi Germany even after its abuses were widely known.

Thomas Watson, then head of IBM & 1937 recipient of the 'Order of the German Eagle' medal has much to answer for.
Brian
This is what your history class never taught you. A must read for any World War 2 history buff. A child of holocaust survivors details how a simple visit to a holocaust museum got him thinking to unravel a mind-breaking conspiracy in American-German relations before and during the Great War.
Rick
This is a very interesting book that shows an American Company driven by profits at the expense of a set of values to drive the decisions of the CEO and company leadership. With that said I don't think today's IBM is reflective in any way of the company that was run in the 30's and 40's. The book does bring to light how the German's were so efficient at identifying and tracking down Jews throughout the roundup to the Jewish Ghetto's and ultimately to the Concentration and Work Camps. The answer ...more
Gary Patton
Sep 11, 2012 Gary Patton rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people concerned that bigotry & hatred again is sweeping the world through radical Islam.
Recommended to Gary by: Web review
This is another disturbing book which complements and expands on the most horrible dimension of "Mein Kampf: Hitler's Blueprint for Aryan Supremacy (Words That Changed History)" by Duane Damon at http://is.gd/JuMrnO .

Mr. Black clearly documents how the advanced Hollerith punch-card technology supplied by IBM and its European subsidiaries, through the knowing complicity of Thomas J. Watson Sr. and IBM's senior management even after the war began, enabled the holocaust.

Hitler actually awarded Wat
...more
Elizabeth
Thanks Paul for the recommendation, I only got through the introduction but that was enough for me. This book is a shocking revelation about how IBM was behind the "organizing" of the Holocaust. I always wondered how this system of oppression and violence actually worked. It seemed to me that there was a level of sophistication at work since so so many people were victimized. The fact that IBM was a way to get information processed and filed makes perfect sense. Very, very frightening and appall ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 64 65 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Blowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its Destructive Impact on Our Domestic and Foreign Policy
  • Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust
  • The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust
  • What We Knew: Terror, Mass Murder, and Everyday Life in Nazi Germany
  • The Theory and Practice of Hell: The German Concentration Camps and the System Behind Them
  • Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust
  • Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Extermination, 1939-1945
  • Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State
  • Hitler's Pope
  • First Into Nagasaki: The Censored Eyewitness Dispatches on Post-Atomic Japan and Its Prisoners of War
  • The Battle of the Tanks: Kursk, 1943
  • After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation
  • Into That Darkness: An Examination of Conscience
  • At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor
  • The Hidden Hitler
  • Hitler's Holy Relics: : A True Story of Nazi Plunder and the Race to Recover the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire
  • Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw
  • War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War
27423
Is an American syndicated columnist and journalist. He specializes in human rights, the historical interplay between economics and politics in the Middle East, petroleum policy, the abuses practiced by corporations, and the financial underpinnings of Nazi Germany.
More about Edwin Black...
War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives Nazi Nexus: America's Corporate Connections to Hitler's Holocaust Banking on Baghdad: Inside Iraq's 7000-year History of War, Profit & Conflict The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Secret Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine

Share This Book