Nazi Party Official Paper is Ecstatic Over the Information They Can Use From Next Census

Nazi Party Official Paper is Ecstatic Over the Information They Can Use From Next Census

Völkischer Beobachter

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The Völkischer Beobachter, official newspaper of the Nazi Party, expresses great joy over the information that the Nazis will have and be able to use when next year's census is taken.

The editorial says:

"In May of next year, the largest and most comprehensive census will take place. It will be larger and more comprehensive than Germany, and even the rest of the world, has ever known....

[I]t is the duty of every Volksgenossen to answer every single question completely and truthfully...giving the Führer and his colleagues the basis for future legislation of the next five to ten years."

Edwin Black quotes one Nazi official:

"The general census of 1938 is intended to also determine the configuration of the German population, blood-wise....

[T]he results could also be recorded on the police department's technical registration cards. The policed would thus gain an insight into the racial composition of the persons living in their jurisdictions. And this would also accomplish the goals set by the Main Office of the Security Police."

The importance of IBM's German subsidiary Dehomag and the IBM machines in tabulating, organizing, and thus also making use of all this information cannot be overestimated. IBM's Hollerith machines and their punch cards will make it possible for the Nazis to determine who is and is not Jewish, to trace people's racial lineage, to calculate how much they own, to track their movements, and much more.

By mid-1944, the Nazis will have Hollerith Departments "installed at the main concentration camps at Mauthausen, Ravensbrück, Flossenbürg and Buchenwald." Dachau alone will be using 24 IBM machines by the end of the war.

The SS Hollerith cards contain all of the needed to make the administration of the massive camp system possible. These machines are, in many ways, both the origin of the "surveillance society" and an example of everyone's fears about what happens when powerful authoritarians have too much access to too much information about us.

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