The newest BlazeTV "Real History" documentary Friday builds off Edwin Black's book “IBM and the Holocaust,” that chronicles what he believes to be the evidence that shows IBM was complicit in the Holocaust. The claims that ancestors of the company we know today as IBM helped Nazis identify and round up jews by designing computer programs to assist with that effort, is shocking. Black, the son of holocaust survivors, says that concentration camp tattoos were originally IBM code numbers.
IBM today firmly condemns the atrocities of the Holocaust, but still questions some suggestions that Black's book may present, as expressed in a statement from spokesman Doug Shelton in response to the BlazeTV documentary:
IBM and its employees around the world find the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime abhorrent and categorically condemn any actions which aided their unspeakable acts.
It has been known for decades that the Nazis used Hollerith equipment and that IBM's German subsidiary during the 1930s -- Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen GmbH (Dehomag) -- supplied Hollerith equipment. As with hundreds of foreign-owned companies that did business in Germany at that time, Dehomag came under the control of Nazi authorities prior to and during World War II. It is also widely known that Thomas J. Watson, Sr., received and subsequently repudiated and returned a medal presented to him by the German government for his role in global economic relations. These well-known facts appear to be the primary underpinning for these recent allegations.
IBM does not have much information about this period or the operations of Dehomag. Most documents were destroyed or lost during the war. The documents that did exist were placed in the public domain some time ago to assist research and historical scholarship. The records were transferred from the company's New York and German operations to New York University and Hohenheim University in Stuttgart, Germany -- two highly respected institutions with the appropriate credentials to be custodians of these records. Independent academic experts at these universities now supervise access to the documents by researchers and historians.
Based on everything the company has seen to date, there appear to be no new facts or findings that bear on this important issue and period.
IBM takes the allegations made by the author very seriously, and looks forward to and will fully cooperate with appropriate scholarly assessments of the historical record.
Watch the "Real History" documentary and discussion Friday on the claims made in Black's book: