On April 27, author Edwin Black, about whom we wrote on March 21, just before his talk for United4Unity in Englewood, will be back in our area. He plans to keynote the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s Yom HaShoah commemoration in Wayne.
Mr. Black, according to his website, has focused much of a long career on exploring and writing about “genocide and hate, corporate criminality and corruption, governmental misconduct, academic fraud, philanthropic abuse, oil addiction, alternative energy and historical investigation.” At the bottom of most of his reporting is the act of evil that has spurred all of his work – the Holocaust.
The investigative work uncovering the truth that some U.S. companies were at least in part responsible for financing and administering the Shoah underlies much of his work.
He thinks that the timing of Yom HaShoah this year is fitting, given what’s going on in Eastern Europe right now. “The methodologies of the Holocaust that I document in ‘IBM and the Holocaust’ – including registration and property itemization – instantly come flooding back to our collective consciousness the very moment unrest subsumes the Ukraine,” he said.
“I intend to remind the Wayne audience of this event as a prelude to my more specific revelations about IBM’s role in the Holocaust. And what was that role? A prime mission of IBM was to register all the Jews of Europe for the Nazis.
“You see that the impulse never dies. In this century it would be accomplished not with punch cards, but with computers. Not with a painstaking 1940s clerical process, but in the twinkling of a digital eye.”
Mr. Black’s work on IBM and the Holocaust might well result in a movie, according to such media outlets as the Vulture, New York Magazine’s entertainment blog. According to the Vulture, Brad Pitt is developing the film, which, it says, might go straight to video, or might end up as a feature film.
The movie, like the book, will answer the question of how the Nazis were able to round up Jews so efficiently. According to Mr. Black, as filtered through the book, IBM’s head, Thomas Watson, used punch cards, then a brand-new and highly effective technology, to slice and dice data. As we now know, it worked.
Mr. Black added that he had chosen to speak about the Shoah in northern New Jersey on Yom HaShoah because this observance “is our nation’s oldest, commencing in the late 1940s, when the horrors of the Holocaust were just being assessed.
“We have to ask ourselves how much has really changed when the grandchildren of the perpetrator generation are now reliving old habits in France, across the Arab world, in Eastern Europe, in Scandinavia, and even in Great Britain.”
Mr. Black plans to enlarge some of documents so that audiences will be able to see them clearly. This is the first time he has done that, he said, and he thinks that it will provide viewers with sobering data.
|Who: Prolific journalist Edwin Black, who specializes in Holocaust-related investigations
What: Will give the keynote address at the Yom HaShoah commemoration
Where: At Shomrei Torah: The Wayne Conservative Synagogue, 30 Hinchman Ave. in Wayne
When: At 3 p.m.; the photo exhibit will be on view starting at 2:30
Why: To remember the Holocaust and learn its lessons.
Sponsored by: The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey
For more information: Call (973) 696-2500 or Dr. Wallace Greene at (201) 873-3263.