U.S. computer giant IBM has alerted its employees
about an upcoming book detailing the company's role in helping
Nazis carry out the Holocaust, according to an internal company
The book, by Washington-based researcher Edwin Black, is titled
"IBM and the Holocaust." It claims that punch-card machines built
by IBM were a key factor enabling the Nazis to make their killing
operations more efficient.
The allegations are also the focus of a lawsuit filed against
IBM in Brooklyn federal court in New York. But the company hasn't
yet seen either the book or the lawsuit and isn't commenting in
detail, Ian Colley, IBM's European spokesman in Paris, said Monday.
"If this book points to new and verifiable information that
advances understanding of this tragic era, IBM will examine it and
ask that appropriate scholars and historians do the same," the
company said in its statement to employees last week.
IBM's German subsidiary during the Nazi era, Deutsche Hollerith
Maschinen GmbH, was taken over by the Nazis. A machine made by the
company believed to have been used in the 1933 German census, the
year the Nazis took power is on display at the U.S. Holocaust
Memorial Museum in Washington.
The German division, which after the war became IBM Germany, has
paid into Germany's government-industry initiative to compensate
people forced to work for the Nazis during the war.
Colley said IBM itself has turned over all its information on
the company's Nazi-era operations to universities.
"We obviously find anything to do with the Nazi regime
abhorrent and will be the first to condemn the activities of anyone
who was associated with the Nazi regime," Colley said.