IBM WELCOMES SWISS COURT'S HOLOCAUST RULING
Fri Aug 18, 3:35 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) - IBM welcomed
a ruling by Switzerland's
supreme court that rejected a bid to sue the US
computing giant for allegedly abetting the Nazi genocides of World War II.
The ruling spelt the end
of a long legal battle by Gypsy International Recognition and Compensation Action, which claimed IBM's punch-card machines
enabled the Nazis to boost the efficiency of their killing operations.
The supreme court said too
much time had elapsed under Switzerland's
statute of limitations since the alleged crimes.
"As we have consistently
maintained, the case should not go forward. We are gratified that the Swiss federal tribunal agrees," IBM said in a one-line
The legal action followed
the publication in 2001 of US author Edwin Black's book "IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany
and America's Most Powerful Corporation."
The book said that IBM's
"Hollerith" punch-card machines were used to codify information about people sent to concentration camps.
Black wrote that the early
computers were also used to gather census data on Jews, Roma (Gypsies) and other groups singled out by the Nazis after they
came to power in 1933.
In addition to their six
million Jewish victims, the Nazis are believed to have killed around 600,000 Roma -- although Roma organisations say the number
could have been around 1.5 million.
The Roma group first filed
its lawsuit in Geneva in 2001, arguing that the Swiss city was home to IBM's wartime operations
It sued IBM for "moral reparation"
and damages of 20,000 dollars (15,500 euros) for each of five European-born Holocaust orphans.
IBM had argued that there
were no grounds for the case and rejected allegations of any complicity in the Holocaust.
It said that its German
subsidiary was taken over by the Nazis and that the parent company was in no way responsible for the way its punch-card machines