Five Holocaust survivors are filing a class-action suit against IBM charging that the huge technology company "aided and abetted crimes against humanity" by providing the punch-card systems used to catalogue and process victims of the Nazi genocide.
The plaintiffs, from the US, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine, claim that IBM not only profited from the use of its products in the Holocaust, but that it has refused historians and others access to archival evidence of its "complicit role in the Holocaust", the law firm Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll PLLC said in a statement yesterday.
A spokesman for IBM was not immediately available for comment.
At Dachau concentration camp alone, there were 24 IBM sorters, tabulators and printers, the lawyers said, adding that IBM regularly visited its Nazi clients for service and training purposes.
The sensational lawsuit was timed to coincide with the publication of a new book, IBM and the Holocaust, by Edwin Black, which is being released worldwide on Monday.
"IBM Germany, using its own staff and equipment, designed, executed, and supplied the indispensable technologic assistance Hitler's Third Reich needed to accomplish what had never been done before - the automation of human destruction," said publisher Little, Brown & Co in a statement.