When I visited the Holocaust Museum in DC, I was startled to see an IBM punch card system on display. Today’s science-tech post (007/365) is about IBM’s role in Hitler’s Germany.
In September 1935, IBM’s German subsidiary [Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen, Dehomag] introduced the D11, the first automatic sequence-controlled calculator. A plug board programmed its internal instructions.
IBM/Dehomag provided the technology that allowed Nazis to run two censuses (1933 and 1939) and then search those data.
Using custom punch cards, the census of 1939 captured data on “race,” identifying who was a Jew as defined by the Nuremberg Laws. Thus Nazis had an automated way to determine how many Jews lived in a particular German city. NOTE: punch card technology was at the center of Bush v Gore in the 2000 presidential vote count in Florida.
“Hollerith machine technology was introduced at the headquarters of the concentration camp system in 1942 and was used there … as a way of managing and tracking data on living prisoners.”
IBM also started a Polish company called Watson Business Machines; its purpose was allegedly to service the Nazi occupation of Poland.
IBM, the parent company, “has not denied the role of its subsidiaries in aiding the Nazis’ management of the Holocaust, preferring to suggest that it should not be held responsible for the actions of companies of which the Third Reich had seized control.”