Adolf Hitler was completely responsible for the Holocaust. But Hitler had help.
When Nazis waged war against an imaginary Jewish conspiracy, when they created ghastly extermination plans so that their master race would rule the world, when the German military smashed across Europe with lightning speed, when Josef Mengele undertook heinous medical experiments on twins in Auschwitz, and when the Reich identified the Jews everywhere in Europe, and then systematically pauperized and destroyed them — when all these terrible things were done, the shape and scope of the horror was pivotally determined by major American industrial giants.
Now the dots can be connected. They create an undeniably Nazi nexus between iconic American corporations and the greatest crime of the 20th century.
Henry Ford, acting through the Ford Motor Company, published the fake "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," which became the bible of German anti-Semites and greatly influenced Hitler.
The Carnegie Institution, the philanthropic incarnation of America's greatest steel fortune, propagated the deadly American race science of eugenics that idealized a blond, blue-eyed superior race. Carnegie spent millions to propagate American eugenic theories in post-World War I Germany.
While in prison, Hitler closely studied American eugenics. He even wrote a fan letter to American eugenic leader Madison Grant. The Fuhrer merely exchanged the American term "Nordic" for the Nazi term "Aryan,"and then medicalized his anti-Semitism and fascist nationalism to formulate the concept of the "master race" he deified in Mein Kampf.
The Rockefeller Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Standard Oil, acted as a full partner with Carnegie in establishing eugenics in Germany. Millions of Depression-era dollars were transmitted by Rockefeller to Hitler's most anti-Jewish doctors. Rockefeller funded Hitler's chief raceologist, Otmar Verschuer, and his insatiable twin experiments.
This funding stopped during World War II, but by that time, Verschuer's assistant, Mengele, had transferred to Auschwitz to continue the research.
From the first weeks of the Third Reich, General Motors president Alfred Sloan committed the company and its German division Opel to motorizing a horse-drawn Germany, preparing the Wehrmacht to wage war in Europe.
For its part, Internal Business Machines — inventor of the Hollerith punch card, precursor to the modern computer — custom-designed and co-planned the Nazi solutions to Jewish existence. With a monopoly on information technology and under the micromanagement of its president, Thomas Watson, IBM in 1933 reached out to the new Hitler regime.
With IBM as a partner, the Hitler regime was able to substantially automate and accelerate all phases of the Holocaust. Company engineers devised custom-tailored punch-card systems to deliver those results. There was an IBM customer site in every concentration camp. Machines were serviced monthly, sometimes weekly, by IBM on site — whether that site was Auschwitz or downtown Berlin.
For their part, American corporate collaborators have long tried to obscure or hide the details of their collusion using the well-known tools of corporate misinformation, financial contributions, and bought and paid for historian reviews. But in an era when people no longer believe big corporations, the dots can be fully connected to unveil the outlines of an indispensible Nazi nexus. The words "never again" must resound not just among the victims, but within board rooms of corporate perpetrators.
Edwin Black is the author of IBM and the Holocaust and the newly released, Nazi Nexus: America's Corporate Connections to Hitler's Holocaust.