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Locating the Victim: An Overview of Census-Taking, Tabulation Technology, and Persecution in Nazi Germany Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129817D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Sep-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 17 page(s) / 73K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

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Copyright ©; 1994 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Locating the Victim: An Overview of Census-Taking, Tabulation Technology, and Persecution in Nazi Germany



Nazi persecution of racial stem presupposed not only precise legal definitions and close cooperation among multiple governmental agencies, but also sophisticated technical procedures for locating those groups according to complex age, occupational, end racial criteria This artiste shows how a variety of administrative tools -- including two national censuses, a system of resident registration, end several special racial databases -- were used to locate groups eventually elated for deportation and death, as mesas the possible role played in this process by Hollerith tabulation technology. Patterns in the expulsion of Jews from Lemony suggest that aggregate census data may have been used to guide this process as welt The precise role played by punched-card tabulation technology remains a matter of speculation. However, it is certain that as early as 1933, Nazi officials and statisticians envisioned a future in which the racial characteristics and vital statistics of every resident would be monitored through tabulation technology in a system of comprehensive surveillance. Whim the "final solution" was in no sense cawed by the availability of sophisticated census-taking and tabulation technologies, concrete evidence suggests that Hollerith machines rationalized the management of concentration camp labor, an important element in the Nazi program of Extermination through work."

The task of locating and persecuting racially defined victim groups posed a mammoth challenge to the administrative bureaucracy of Nazi Germany. At a minimum, it required the close cooperation of civil authorities with the national police, the Reich criminal detective forces (Kriminalpolizei or Kripo) and the political police (Geheime Staatspolizei or Gestapo), the Nazi party, the German railroad, the German Army, and civilian authorities in German-occupied territories, to say nothing of the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps (part of the SS or Schutzstaffel Central Office). Achieving ethnic and "biological" homogeneity in Germany entailed the social exclusion and eventual destruction of minority groups considered alien and inferior -- particularly Jews, Roma ("Gypsies"* 1), the mentally and physically handicapped, and persons of mixed African and German descent16 -- which in turn presupposed a lengthy process of definition, segregation, and isolation, as well as a modern bureaucracy willing to implement it. In the words of Gotz Aly and Karl Heinz Roth, each "selection" at the Auschwitz- Birkenau concentration camp "fulfilled a prior selection on paper."'

The bureaucracy of persecution has been studied since the Nuremberg trials in 1946,5 b...