Tuesday, June 12, 2012

IBM and the Holocaust - A Most Unsettling Book

For the last several days I have been reading IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black, 2001.

The parts in the book about what the Nazis did to the Jews and other peoples that the Nazis saw as undesirables is not new to me.  Over the years, I have read several books, each dealing with a piece of the bigger story about the Jews, the gypsies and others that the Nazis deemed unworthy of life itself.  In 1968, I visited the Dachau concentration camp memorial outside of Munich.  So, I have seen and walked the grounds of a piece of history as well as read about what took place in Germany between 1933 and the end of WWII in 1945. This part of 20th century European history I am very familiar, but what I did not know was the role IBM played in the effectiveness and efficiency of the Third Reich's war against the Jews!

Reading the pages of this book, and then thinking about what took place and how a large American corporation, IBM, and its leader, Thomas J. Watson, were able to turn a blind eye to what was happening to the Jews in Germany for the sake of profit is a story I knew nothing about until now.  This is not a simple story of greed.  This is a story of power and greed on steroids.

It causes me to ask the question: If people will do what IBM did to make Nazi Germany IBM's second biggest client next to the U.S. government, what would people do today for power and money?  I don't intend to answer this question as I think each of us needs to give that question some thought for ourselves.   I can tell you this, I am concerned with the role money plays in politics.  I am concerned with people that would destroy the civil rights of others that do not look like them.  Corporations today have huge amounts of financial resources to lobby governments. What unlimited financial resource lobbying does to a society and the civil rights of its citizens remains to be seen. What will that next chapter look like?


Butch said...

You can see it without looking too far Fred. The Supreme Court of the US has allowed money to play a super huge roll in how our politics plays out by allowing these super groups to post political ads, lies or truths, without a blink of an eye.

Sure, the corporations have a ton of cash on hand today, richer than they have ever been and I'm sure they will spend it on the campaign trail but it is those super groups that should scare everyone because they are not held accountable for what they do.


winslow said...

Some Republicans have called Obama a socialist and a Nazi. But is it not themselves that follow the Nazi principle, such as with IBM.... let business do as they please with no regulation or government intervention