As the brave activists and employees of tech companies have come out to stand up for #NoTech4ICE, we must remember that willingness of technology companies to choose profits over morality has been a tradition that has led to some of the worst atrocities in human history.
The help of IBM in implementing the Holocaust is one of the lesser-known stories of the time.

But IBM's help was indispensable for a regime that was planning on industrial efficiency to catalogue and kill Jews.
IBM worked closely with Hitler's Germany, not just giving them their equipment but also their know-how, in order to help them in their plans.

This included using IBM machines to track census information in order to identify Jews around Europe.
As the author of "IBM and the Holocaust" wrote:

"IBM... hired thousands and thousands of census takers...

All the information was all brought into one warehouse in Berlin, centralised. Day and night these paper forms were punched into special IBM coding machines.."
The data included people's language, their religion, their nationality, their profession, their city of residence.

"And then at the rate of 24,000 cards per hour, suddenly they knew the identification and location of all the Jews in Berlin who were doctors. That was IBM."
With each country they invaded, more data was collected, and IBM was part of every step of that process. Without IBM, there is little doubt that the Nazis could have accomplished as much as they did.

But that's not all.
IBM kept maintained customer sites known as Hollerith Departments in almost every concentration camp.

They did this to keep track of all the prisoners, to make sure the data about their prisoners was accurate, and to track how they were killing them.
Auschwitz was 001. Buchenwald was 002. Dachau was 003. And so on.

Prisoner types were different numbers. 3 meant homosexual. 9 meant anti-social. 12 meant Roma. And the number 8 meant Jew.

All of this maintained and catalogued by IBM and its equipment.
Deaths also had numbers.

3 was death by natural causes.

4 was execution.

5 was suicide.

6 was “special treatment” in gas chambers.

IBM maintained and created these codes. They also trained staff, printed cards, maintained the systems. They helped with every step.
And the infamous tattoos that were used in concentration camps?

They were started as part of IBM's system of cataloguing of concentration camp prisoners.

Originally they kept track of their work, as killing became the norm, IBM's ingenuity was less relied on.
Without the aid of a US technology company called IBM, there is little doubt that the Nazis would have been less effective at killing Jews and others so systematically.

Horrors do not happen without willing accomplices.

And today, we are again seeing willing tech accomplices.
In the age of "big data," where the intelligence of computers has reached heights hardly imagined in the 1930s and 40s, we have tech companies like Amazon and Palantir following IBM's lead.

They are a critical part of ICE's arrests, detentions, and deportations of migrants.
As the government continues to separate families at the border, and now prepares to devastate more families through mass arrests and deportations, we must remember that the role of technology companies as willing accomplices is again part of what we are witnessing.
Tech companies are just as responsible for their role. CEOs must be called out just as the government is called out. And no one is ever allowed to claim again that they were "just following orders."

In other words, #NeverAgainIsNow.
THIS TUESDAY: Immigrant organizers, #JewsAgainstICE and allies are going to DC to #ShutDownICE. We’re leading an action that’s going to strike at the heart of ICE and their enablers. Will you join us?


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