Discover more from Sweary History with James Fell
When You Think of the Holocaust, Think of IBM
The computer company made it far more efficient and lethal
“Think” is the official slogan of IBM. When you see a number tattooed on the arm of a Holocaust survivor, think IBM.
When you read of how efficient the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust was, think IBM.
When you learn of the racial censuses that allowed Jewish bloodlines to be tracked generations back to better identify and target people for extermination, think IBM.
When you ponder the ghettoization and the confiscation, think of IBM. When you imagine the mass deportation, the trains running so efficiently that they stopped next to waiting gas chambers, ready to continue to the disassembly line of human extermination, think of IBM.
The Holocaust would still have happened without IBM, but because of the computer giant, it was made more lethal.
For decades, the antisemitic as fuck “Jewish question” was pondered in Europe. The question was what are we going to do about all these Jews living among us? The idea of treating them equally as fellow humans wasn’t given much consideration. The fucking Nazis came up with their Final Solution to that question: Kill them all. To do so, they needed computerization.
Computers did not yet exist, but IBM had a precursor: a punch card and sorting system.
How involved was the company in genocide? According to historian Edwin Black, author of the 2001 book IBM and the Holocaust, “IBM Germany, using its own staff and equipment, designed, executed, and supplied the indispensable technologic assistance Hitler's Third Reich needed to accomplish what had never been done before—the automation of human destruction.” Thousands of these machines were deployed throughout Germany and the rest of Europe. And they “did not simply sell the machines and walk away.” They didn’t sell them, but rather leased them. The machines were custom-designed, and IBM developed special applications for doing the work of the Holocaust. IBM Germany, which at the time was called Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft, was infested with Nazis in its upper management. It was those Nazi managers who understood Hitler’s murderous ambitions and saw dollar signs. They used their party connections to get the contract to help with the killing.
Many of the machines were located in death camps. Collectively cranking out over a billion punch cards, the delicate machines frequently broke down and needed monthly service by IBM staff. The company fucking knew what they were being used for.
Thomas J. Watson was the CEO of IBM in America, and he was the one who formed that business partnership with the fucking Nazis before the war. Watson, the one who came up with the original “Think” slogan, was directly involved, traveling to Berlin about a dozen times leading up to the war. When Germany declared war on the United States in late 1941 and business contact between the nations became illegal, the IBM parent company in the states worried over being cut out of the profits generated from doing business with Nazis. No problem, they decided. We’ll just get our office in Switzerland to act as the intermediary.
Some of the first numbers tattooed onto the arms of Jewish people were IBM numbers; they were registration numbers for labor assignment. Eventually, those numbers no longer had anything to do with IBM, because they’d been created for enslaved labor, not for those being exterminated.
More recently, IBM is guilty of stunning hypocrisy.
“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation,” the company said in a recently released statement.
What’s the “unacceptable situation,” other than actual fucking Nazis running even more rampant across the platform since Phoney Stark took over? It’s Anal Musk explicitly endorsing antisemitism.
IBM’s ads were showing up next to tweets specifically endorsing fucking Nazis, and also tweets that presented fucking Hitler quotes in an “inspirational” format. But it appears that IBM reached its tipping point when some anonymous Nazi shitwagon using the handle @breakingbhat spewed some antisemitic conspiracy bullshit about “white replacement” and Elno replied to him with “You have said the actual truth.”
And so, IBM has finally decided to cut business ties with a modern-day Nazi, but it’s nothing they should be praised for, considering their history.
Speaking of history, Today is November 19. On this day in history, in 1943, the Janowska death camp, located in what is now West Ukraine, was liquidated. As the Soviets advanced toward the camp, the fucking Nazis endeavored to erase the evidence of their crimes. There was a mass revolt in the camp, but only a few escaped. Most, approximately 6,000 people, were immediately murdered.
During its operation, at least 80,000 Jews were murdered in the Janowska camp.
Get my book ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY SH!T WENT DOWN.
You can also subscribe: