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Edwin Black is an award-winning New York Times bestselling American author and journalist specializing in corporate and historical investigations. He has published sixty-five editions in fourteen languages in sixty-one countries. He has also written numerous newspaper and magazine articles, published throughout the United Statesmarker, Europe and Israelmarker. The author has been featured in, and/or has been the subject of, numerous documentaries.


The Transfer Agreement

Edwin Black's first nonfiction book was The Transfer Agreement, originally published in 1984 and then subsequently republished in 1999, 2001 and 2002. The book details the painful and controversial 1933 Haavara Agreement between the Nazis and the Zionist Organization to rescue European Jews and their assets by transferring them to Jewish Palestine. The Nazis insisted that the transfer was conditioned on the purchase and resale of German goods. The more goods the Zionist sold, the more Jews the Third Reich released. While it allowed about 50,000 German Jews to escape the clutches of the Nazi regime, this program effectively broke the Jewish-led anti-Nazi boycott working to topple the Hitler regime in its first year. As such, the deal tore the Jewish and Zionist communities apart because one could not fight against Hitler by boycotting German goods and at the same rescue Jewish victims of Nazi oppression by selling those same German goods. Black's book was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and was given the Carl Sandburg Award for the best nonfiction book of the year. The book was met with a firestorm of publicity and incredulity when it was originally published. Although Black was originally attacked by Jewish communal leaders for revealing the bitter details of the Transfer Agreement, he later became a popular Jewish journalist, considered by many to be one of the Jewish community's most ardent and credible defenders precisely because of the explosive nature of The Transfer Agreement. The 25th Anniversary edition was released in July 2009 with an Afterword by Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League and a new introduction by the author asserting that many were not ready to confront the Holocaust reality imposed upon the victims, that is, commercial negotiations with the The Third Reich.

IBM and the Holocaust

Black's second nonfiction book was IBM and the Holocaust which in February 2001 was published simultaneously in 40 nations in 9 languages and is now sold in 60 nations in 13 languages. In brief, IBM and the Holocaust "tells the story of IBM's conscious involvement-directly and through its subsidiaries-in the Holocaust, as well as its involvement in the Nazi war machine that murdered millions of others throughout Europe". Black's book documents how IBM's New Yorkmarker headquarters and CEO Thomas J. Watson acted through its overseas subsidiaries to provide the Third Reich with punch card machines that could help the Nazis to track down the European Jewry (especially in newly conquered territory). The book quotes extensively from numerous IBM and government memos and letters that describe how IBM in New York, IBM's Geneva office and Dehomag, its German subsidiary, were intimately involved in supporting Nazi oppression. The book also includes IBM's internal reports that admit that these machines made the Nazis much more efficient in their efforts. Several documentaries, including the 2003 film The Corporation screened, C-SPAN broadcast and The Times, the Village Voice, the JTA and numerous other publications published close-ups of several documents demonstrating IBM's involvement in the Holocaust. These included IBM code sheets for concentration camps taken from the files of the National Archives. Prisoner Code 8 was Jew, Code 11 was Gypsy. Camp Code 001 was Auschwitzmarker, Code 002 was Buchenwaldmarker. Status Code 5 was executed by order, code 6 was gas chamber.

One extensively quoted IBM report written by the company's European manager during WWII declared “in Germany a campaign started for, what has been termed … ‘organization of the second front.’” The memo added, “In military literature and in newspapers, the importance and necessity of having in all phases of life, behind the front, an organization which would remain intact and would function with ‘Blitzkrieg’ efficiency … was brought out. What we had been preaching in vain for years all at once began to be realized.”

IBM has never denied the details of the book and has consistently refused calls by Jewish, Gypsy, survivor, and veterans groups to apologize, but instead claimed it has no real information on the period. The company also stated that Black's "case is long and heavily documented, and yet he does not demonstrate that I.B.M. [sic] bears some unique or decisive responsibility for the evil that was done." Years after the book came, IBM offered to issue a private apology to a Polish-born IBM employee who demanded one because his parents were swept up by IBM activities in the Krakow ghetto . IBM and the Holocaust book won two major 2001 awards from the American Society of Journalists and Authors: Best Book of the Year and Best Investigative Article of the Year for "IBM and Auschwitz" which was based on the book, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. IBM and the Holocaust has been featured in hundreds of news articles, magazine stories, TV shows and documentaries, virtually none with rebuttal from IBM.

War Against the Weak

Black's third nonfiction book was War Against the Weak, published in 2003, documenting the forgotten rise of genocidal American eugenics in the first decades of the 20th Century, that is, the drive to create a white, blond, blue-eyed master race. The campaign forcibly sterilized some 60,000 Americans by virtue of racist, pseudoscientific legislation in 27 states eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Courtmarker. The book also documents the American eugenics movement's direct financial and political sponsorship of Nazi eugenics after the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1933 through the efforts of the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. These groups inspired Adolf Hitler to move his German nationalism into biological supremacy. They financed vast eugenic research networks. The Carnegie Institution helped create the mathematical formulas defining a half-Jew, quarter-Jew, sixteenth Jew and so forth which became enshrined in the Nuremberg Laws. The Rockefeller Foundation, according to the book, financed the program that sent Mengele into Auschwitzmarker seeking twins for monstrous experimentation. War Against the Weak was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and eventually won the 2003 International Human Rights Award from the World Affairs Council.

Banking on Baghdad

Black's fourth nonfiction book was Banking on Baghdad, which traced the history of commerce and conflict in Mesopotamia and Iraq from the onset of recorded history to the Second Gulf War. The book, which accessed numerous public, private and corporate archives, begins with the first commercial trading of the ancient world in the "Cradle of Civilization," including the origin of that term. But the bulk of the research and text centers on the Ottoman Empire, the run-up to WWI and the western imperialism and League of Nations mandate process that created the oil states and modern-day Iraq. Of particular interest was the book's revelations about the secretive "Redline Agreement," which is published for the first time, and "the Farhud," that is the anti-Jewish pogrom in Baghdad in 1941. The World Affairs Council awarded the author "Best Book of 2004" for the work.

Internal Combustion

Black's fifth nonfiction book was Internal Combustion, published in 2006, documenting how society never needed to fuel its industrial expansion on oil, and how rulers, governments and corporations have subverted the alternatives. The book accomplishes this by chronicling the history of fuel and transportation from the beginning of recorded times to the modern day. Extensive use is made of archives and obscure research in this highly footnoted work.

Black shows that wood was the original fuel, and this made it the most valuable commodity on earth, tightly controlled by monarchs, and subject to special "forest laws." Eventually, industrializing civilizations such as Great Britainmarker exhausted their timber supply. When they could no longer invade other lands to acquire more woodlands, these countries turned to an "alternative fuel," mainly coal. Black writes that the rise of coal ushered in the first OPEC-style international fuel cartel, the Hostmen of Newcastle, which manipulated supply and demand, and pressured societies at will to achieve their goals and economic objectives. Coal led to trains, and trains necessitated batteries to operate telegraphs over great distances.

Black writes that when in about 1835 electricity was employed to power horseless carriages, the automobile was born. The author then traces the history of the automobile throughout the 1800s and eventually at the turn of the 20th century when vehicles were battery-powered to an abrupt conversion to internal combustion in the years before World War I. Black documents that eventually, in the first two decades on the 20th century, the corporate forces that controlled the electric car retired it in favor of internal combustion, which was considered more "manly" and profitable than the electric car.

The book reveals a heretofore unknown 1912 project by Henry Ford and Thomas Edison to switch the nation back to electric cars, but the project was subverted by corporate opposition, suspicious accidents, and a devastating fire at Edison's factory. Black then documents the combine of five corporations led by General Motors to purchase several dozen trolley systems, destroy them, and replace them with oil-burning buses, using a front company called National City Lines. Eventually, the federal government prosecuted and convicted GM of criminal conspiracy, a conviction which was upheld by the Supreme Courtmarker. Calling upon previously unknown prosecution records and the court file itself, Black documents the realities of what had been termed an urban legend but was in fact authentic. At the same time, Black shows, GM was collaborating with the Adolf Hitler regime to motorize the Third Reich in preparation for war. The book concludes with a forward look into oil alternatives such as natural gas, electric and hydrogen.

Internal Combustion received four major awards, including outstanding book of the year from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Rockower Award for investigative reporting, the Green Globes, and the Thomas Edison Award.

The Plan

Black's sixth nonfiction book was The Plan published in 2008, and his second on the topic of energy independence and oil addiction. The Plan however does not discuss energy independence as much as a fuel crisis looming in the event of a sudden oil interruption. Black states that the U.S. consumes about 20 million barrels of oil per day, some 70 percent imported, and if only 2 million were interrupted for a protracted period of a month or more, the nation would be thrown into economic chaos. The Plan, rich in footnoted studies and news reports, explains that severe weather such as hurricanes and pinprick terrorism at pipelines could not cause such a disruption, but that a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz could. Black then outlines the step-by-step day-by-day austere rationing, vehicle retrofitting and fuel switching needed to survive such disruption, based on the policies and precedents of International Energy Agency and our own history. The point of the book is that while some 28 other oil consuming nations have adopted emergency measures, American policymakers have not even discussed a contingency plan.

Nazi Nexus

Black's seventh non-fiction book Nazi Nexus published in 2009, in which he again returns to exploring Holocaust connections. This time, Black has woven together five major American corporate giants into a web of pivotal corporate complicity in the Holocaust. The book makes clear from the outset that Adolf Hitler was completely responsible for the Holocaust. But, says Black, Hitler had indispensable help that virtually shaped the size and scope of the Holocaust itself. In five succinct chapters, Black details the role played by Ford Motor Co., the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation, General Motors and IBM.

Zealous Nazis, says Black, were motivated to wage war against an imaginary generation-to-generation Jewish conspiracy based on the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, distributed chiefly by Henry Ford and Ford Motor Co. Hitler studied the Protocols, and acknowledged them and Henry Ford as his "inspiration." Hence, Nazi antisemitism was escalated to an international political dynamic. The Ford section is taken from Black's earlier work The Transfer Agreement and other research.

The concept of the Master Race is shown to be not a German idea but an American one propounded by American eugenics decades before the Third Reich and proliferated across the United States and into Germany by the Carnegie Institution. It was American Eugenics that declared that all unfit persons—those not conformed to a blond-haired and blue-eyed ideal—should be eliminated either by marriage restriction, concentration camp, forced sterilization, or gas chamber. All of these solutions were subject to American legislation during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Hitler studied American eugenics, hailed the work as his "bible," wrote fan mail to leading American eugenic racists, and then implemented American ideas and legislation, albeit with ruthless and fascist vigor. The Carnegie section was based on Black's research for War Against the Weak.

Continuing on the topic of eugenics, Black shows how the Rockefeller Foundation joined the Carnegie Institution in spreading eugenic theories. The Rockefeller Foundation in particular funded Hitler's leading Nazi doctors, including his top eugenicist Otmar Verschuer. Of particular interest was Verschuer's fascination with twin studies. Verschuer's assist Josef Mengele was sent into Auschwitz to complete the twin research, performing ghastly experiments, all documented in clinical reports sent back to Verschuer. This section was also based on War Against the Weak.

Moving to the topic of mobility, Black points out that when the German military smashed across Europe with lightning speed in heavy Blitz trucks, bomb from the air in advanced JU-88s, and created havoc on the seas with deadly torpedoes, they did so because General Motors motorized the Third Reich. In an extensive section, Black shows how General Motors from Detroit, operating through secret international executive committees, ramped up its Opel subsidiary. Eventually, Opel became Germany's largest car and truck maker, primarily servicing the military and joining the strategic preparations for war. This information was taken from Black's syndicated series "Hitler's Carmaker," and other research.

Finally, Black returns to his theme of information technology. He shows how the Reich was enabled to identify the Jews everywhere in Europe and then systematically pauperize and destroy them. He explains in great detail, quoting from IBM corporate memos, how IBM directly from New York and later through its Paris and Geneva offices, organized and co-planned all six phases of the Holocaust: identification, social expulsion, asset confiscation, ghettoization, deportation and even extermination.

Black concludes that taken together, the five companies created a Nazi Nexus without which the Holocaust would have been a very different tragedy of a very different dimension.

Authored books

Contributions to anthologies and other books

  • 2004 - Contributor, technical translator, The Nazi Census: Identification and Control in the Third Reich by Götz Aly, Karl Heinz Roth, Edwin Black, Assenka Oksiloff (Temple University Press)
  • 2005 - Chapter Contributor, The Secret Histories: Hidden Truths That Challenged the Past and Changed the World, edited by John Friedman (Picador Books)
  • 2006 - Essay Contributor, What Israel Means to Me: By 80 Prominent Writers, Performers, Scholars, Politicians, and Journalists, edited by Alan Dershowitz (Wiley Books)
  • 2007 - Chapter Contributor, Das Helige Nichts, edited by Johann Wabbel (Patmos Books)

Newspapers and Magazines

Edwin Black has been the editor of several magazines, and his work has appeared in many leading magazines and newspapers internationally. From 1974 and 1976, Black was the editor of Chicago Monthly, an enterprise journalism and investigative city magazine, during its three year existence; the magazine won a Folio Award for editorial excellence. From 1992 to 1997, Black was the editor of OS/2 Professional, an enterprise journalism computer monthly, during its five year existence; the magazine won a Computer Press Association Award. As a journalist and author, Black's writings have appeared in many newspapers and magazines in several countries. In the United States, these include the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Journal of the American Bar Association, American Lawyer, Reform Judaism, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the Village Voice, Chicago Reader, and others. Overseas, these include: Times of London, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Corriere della Sera, Le Monde, the Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem Report and others.

Notable articles

Major documentary appearances

  • 2001 - "IBM's Role and the Holocaust" GNN
  • 2002 - The King of Capitalism, BBC
  • 2002 - The Corporation, theatrical release
  • 2007 - Saddam and the Third Reich, History Channel
  • 2007 - Racism – A History, BBC
  • 2009 - War Against the Weak—The Movie, film festival release


External links

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