Skip to main content

Holocaust Revisionism?

June 2024
1min read

Frederick E. Allen’s review of my book IBM and the Holocaust (“Behind the Cutting Edge,” July/August 2001) is presented with a great authoritative tone, as though Allen is an expert in this area. Unfortunately, virtually everything he knows about IBM’s involvement with Hitler’s Reich is second- or thirdhand. His review is filled with exaggeration and completely invented Holocaust-era history.

Two examples are representative. Alien writes that IBM’s machines “were employed in many of the concentration camps, and they helped automate the mass production of death (though they were in such short supply that the Race and Settlement Office of the SS didn’t have one until 1943).” What does the Race and Settlement Office have to do with concentration camps? It was a screening service for adoptions and marriages by SS officers, which is why it didn’t receive a machine until so late, and is so marginal it is unmentioned in virtually every standard Holocaust reference.

Even more astonishing, Allen writes of IBM’s and James Watson’s “energetic service to the Allied cause, which included sharing every bit of information [my emphasis] they had about Germany’s use of punch cards....” This is a fabrication. Not even IBM press statements ever set forth this falsity.

Why did Allen feel the need to exaggerate the involvement of an SS marriageand-adoption bureau, and why did he feel the need to fabricate the never-before-suggested notion that IBM shared every bit of its information with the Allies?

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.