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This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

FDR, IBM, Darwin, and the Holocaust

The blog Darwinian Fundamentalism reported a recent Washington Post article that discusses the negative reaction to a new book titled, "Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust." The article said,

Fifty-five historians have signed a letter protesting the new book about Roosevelt because, they say, it impugns the patriotism of scholars who think the United States should have bombed Auschwitz, admitted more refugees and taken other steps to lessen the Nazi genocide.

In "Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust," author Robert N. Rosen contends that "from Roosevelt's perspective, everything was done that could reasonably be done for European Jewry." FDR's critics, he writes, are indulging in "America-bashing" and promoting an "anti-American" version of history.

Below is the text of the letter that the 55 holocaust historians sent to the publisher in protest of the book:

Gentlemen:

In Robert N. Rosen's new book "Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust, " he impugns the patriotism of scholars, including Prof. David S. Wyman, who have taken issue with the Roosevelt administration's response to the Holocaust. Mr. Rosen accuses these scholars of promoting "an anti-American version of history" (pp. 332) and engaging in "America bashing." (p. 324)

As scholars who have written about the Holocaust, we protest Mr. Rosen's attempt to demean the motives of reputable historians who have documented important facts about how America responded to the Nazi genocide.

Does your publishing house really mean to suggest that questioning the policies of a particular administration is grounds for branding a scholar "anti-American"? Such name-calling and invective are deplorable, false, and have no place in serious discussion of the Roosevelt administration's response to one of the greatest moral crises of the Twentieth Century.

Sincerely,

In contrast to the big protest over the book "Saving the Jews," there did not appear to be any significant objection to the book "IBM and the Holocaust" by Edwin Black, which appeared to libel a great American company. The introduction to "IBM and the Holocaust" said, "IBM, primarily through its German subsidiary, made Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission the company pursued with chilling success." A New York Times book reviewer said of that statement, "Black never even attempts to substantiate his accusation -- a scandalous omission considering the gravity of the charge." The book's main theme is completely contradicted by the following statement from Sybil Milton, a former senior historian of the research institute of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: "We have no proof that the [IBM] Hollerith was ever used to target individuals for deportation lists." By odd coincidence, a lawsuit by holocaust survivors was filed against IBM at the same time that the book was published. Also, the book later became the basis for a lawsuit by Gypsy organizations against IBM.

The end of the Washington Post article also has several paragraphs about the TV special on Darwin and Hitler, but I have no comments to make about that part of the article.

History has been accurately described as "lies mutually agreed upon."

My thanks to Lawrence Selden, the blogger at Darwinian Fundamentalism, for bringing this Washington Post article to my attention.

Related articles on this blog:

The absurd book "IBM and the Holocaust"

Holocaust mythologies

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

I'm glad that the 55 historians have spoken up. Roosevelt tried to hide his head in the sand over this issue.

At last you have posted something worthwhile in your support of these historians.

To call them "unamerican" for criticising Roosevelt is quite unamerican.

> In contrast to the big protest over the book "Saving the Jews," there did not appear to be any significant objection to the book "IBM and the Holocaust" <

This week there was quite a bit in the sports pages about Texas, Notre Dame, USC and Oklahoma. There was little about the importance of the victory by Crow Creek High School in South Dakota. We must attribute this to racism against the native American team. There is no other possible explanation.

> "IBM and the Holocaust" by Edwin Black, which appeared to libel a great American company. <

First, truth is an absolute defense against a libel claim, as anyone who knows anything about law (of course this excludes you) would know. Second, your complaint is a moot point since no great American companies seem to be named in the book. (I have not read it all. I doubt if you have.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Ex-IBMer said...

> "IBM and the Holocaust" by Edwin Black, which appeared to libel a great American company. <

IBM's management has recurring problems with greed far beyond what is necessary and appropriate in a capitalist society.

The following employee comment appeared at the IBM union's website (this isn't the Watson in Black's book; it's his son):
------------------------------
Comment 6/18/06: Excerpt from Father and Son by Watson Jr. "I considered taking even more radical steps to increase IBM’s commitment to its employees. Those at the top were doing fantastically well on stock options -- despite the fact that Williams (Al Williams, then IBM President) and I stopped taking options in 1958, after Williams said, “We don’t want to look like pigs.” While IBM’s workers were making good money, they couldn’t look forward to the rich capital gains that executives with options had. I asked myself, “How much more am I worth to IBM than that guy down at the bottom of the pay scale? Twice as much? Sure. Ten times as much? Maybe. Twenty times as much? Probably not.”
Pg 311: “FATHER, SON & COMPANY” My life at IBM and Beyond, by Thomas J. Watson Jr. -Anonymous-
------------------------------
That was apparently the high-water mark of IBM's solicitude for its employees. Today, of course, the figure "20 times" is laughable. The following comments (same source) show the situation today:
------------------------------
Comment 6/19/06: All I can say is !@!@#%@%@%!!#!#!?
I have only been working for IBM for 3.5 years and have not received one pay raise. Like a lot of others I get on with my job. As far as I can see there is no reason why I should not get a pay raise. Except that Sam Palmisano got all of it. It is diabolical. They would have no machines to sell if they had no one to build them. At the end of the day customers rely on their systems to be of high quality and this only comes from the people building them. All Sam Palmisano has to do is shake hands and take the cheques. -Anonymous-
------------------------------
Comment 6/18/06: I got a whopping 1.5% raise - my first one in 2 years, and I'm one of the lucky ones. I've been with the company for 12 years as an MVS Systems Programmer at a customer site (the customer sold us to IBM and screwed many people on their pensions then too) in NJ. I'm in band 8, and I don't know what my official job title is - and quite frankly, I don't really care. Sam should be lopping a few zeroes off of his paycheck and pension so that he could fund of few of us. Or better yet, maybe he should do us all a favor and retire. -Anonymous-
------------------------------
Comment 6/18/06: Stock has been flat for the past 5 years. 29% raise is insane. Executive pay should be directly linked to performance (just like the rest of us.) As far as I'm concerned, his salary should be $1.00 like some of the CEOs (Chrysler, Google etc.) -AnUpset2PlusPerformer-
------------------------------
Comment 6/18/06: Where's my Retiree COLA Sammy? I'm stuck with rising costs and no increase. What do you do with the interest earned on the Pension Fund? Give it to your Admin pals in Fidelity? I hope you croak before you collect one penny of your $15,000 per day Pension you heartless SOB. You will atone for this someday because you always reap what you sow. -Anonymous-

Thursday, September 07, 2006 4:13:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Ex-IBMer said...

<<<<<<> "IBM and the Holocaust" by Edwin Black, which appeared to libel a great American company. <

IBM's management has recurring problems with greed far beyond what is necessary and appropriate in a capitalist society. <<<<<<<

There is a big difference between an accusation of greed and an unsubstantiated accusation of "making Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission."

Thursday, September 07, 2006 7:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> There is a big difference between an accusation of greed and an unsubstantiated accusation of "making Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission." <

I think that his point was that IBM should not be considered a "Great American Company". One might also read the book "Trading With The Enemy" by Nicholas W. Maier.

If you want to comment on this book, please read it, rather than just reading a review. You may then make less of a fool of yourself.

Friday, September 08, 2006 9:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Ex-IBMer said...

> There is a big difference between an accusation of greed and an unsubstantiated accusation of "making Hitler's program of Jewish destruction a technologic mission." <

This is not to trivialize the Holocaust, but IBM management's obsession with greed seems to often lead the company astray into profoundly callous behavior. A lot of companies have higher ethics, and balance the interests of customers, employees, stockholders, the nation, and the world better.

< If you want to comment on this book, please read it ... >

Right. Especially the comment about "unsubstantiated". How would you know?

Friday, September 08, 2006 9:19:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Voice In Wilderness said --

>>>>>If you want to comment on this book, please read it, rather than just reading a review. You may then make less of a fool of yourself. <<<<<

Ex-IBMer said --

>>>>> Right. Especially the comment about "unsubstantiated". How would you know? <<<<

I read the whole introduction, and the charge that IBM had a "mission" to exterminate European Jews was so serious that it should have been substantiated in the introduction. Also, the author of the published review said that the charge was not substantiated, and I presume that he read or skimmed the whole book.

Sunday, September 10, 2006 4:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> I read the whole introduction <

Wow! The whole introduction. Does that make you an expert on the book? It seems that this admission only shows you to be someone who constantly talks about things he knows nothing about.

> and the charge that IBM had a "mission" to exterminate European Jews was so serious that it should have been substantiated in the introduction. <

What an absurd statement. The introduction is expected to make the book superfluous.

> Also, the author of the published review said that the charge was not substantiated, and I presume that he read or skimmed the whole book. <

Damned by your own words!

Sunday, September 10, 2006 8:53:00 PM  

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