- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Money, money, money seems to be the only way to make all past wrongs right. Suing IBM because their computers were involved in the Holocaust is the kind of thing that gives lawyers a bad name. A new book by Edwin Black called “IBM and the Holocaust” would have us believe that the punch card was responsible for Nazi Germany's ability to round up Jews. I suppose if there were no punch card, they would be suing the lead pencil people because the pencil was used to check off names.

When you stop to think of the horrors of the Holocaust, you could make a case against every piece of equipment involved in the running of the extermination program. Here we are a half-century later, demanding money to recompense the survivors. If we are serious about compensation for those involved, will there be any money for the thousands of dead American and allied soldiers, who gave up their lives to free those people who are now looking for dollars to make things right?

I'm quite sure there were billions of punch cards used in the war effort the United States waged against Germany. I'm also sure that IBM manufacturing plants contributed substantially to the war effort by making weapons and equipment. You would think over the last few years we would have seen enough legal sleaze to last us a lifetime, but it looks like there is no end to it. Can you imagine the number of firms who sold equipment to Germany prior to the war? Are they all to be held accountable for the Holocaust?

If there are two things you never want to bet on, I would say that unproved allegations by an author would be No. 1, and determining the true intent of a lawsuit No. 2. Fifty years ago, when there were numerous survivors of the Holocaust still living, the lawyers must have felt that distribution of any monetary settlement would be too small to bother with. Now that the Holocaust victims have dwindled down to levels that make these lawsuits worthwhile, we are seeing more and more of them.

Victims are coming out of the woodwork. An organizer of the National Reparations Convention wants compensation for descendants of African American slaves. Once again, you have to wonder what kind of monetary award will be given to the descendants of the dead soldiers who set them free. The families that lost sons in the war shouldn't be surprised if they are contacted by lawyers should this reparation thing catch on.

At the risk of offending everyone, I say, get over it. If we are truly serious about compensation for all the wrongs that have occurred over the years, we might want to sit down right now and decide how much money we are going to give each native American whose land we stole to build this great Democracy.

Let's go back all the way. Perhaps the Indians may be able to sue the people who built the ship Columbus came over on. The trouble with class actions is few of them have any class at all.


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