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While going through the memoirs of a witness of the Holocaust in Germany, I stumbled upon the passage:

there in Rudolfstadt we had a new holorydmachine from the Americans - in the barn of a farmer - to calculate the salaries of the officers.

It must have been around the time the war ended. Also I think it had to be huge as it was not in a regular room but in a barn (at that time barns were at least 4m high, but normal rooms only 2,2m).

What are holorydmachines?

Any information or hints are welcome, as this witness can no longer be questioned.

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Apparently, you are looking for Herman Hollerith and his Tabular Machines. Hollerith was the first to use punched cards for data storage (there were punched cards and tape before, but were mainly used to control machines).

The US-American census of 1890 was the first to massively use punched cards for data storage and statistical calculation based on Hollerith's machines. (The pure storage mechanism later evolved into support for mechanical addition and subtraction of stored and counted figures, so a precursor of a mechanical computer). Such early machines were commonly called "Hollerith-Maschinen".

Herman Hollerith's company, The Tabulating Machine Company is one of the four roots of today's IBM.

When looking for German IBM during WWII, you might want to read the Wikipedia article on DEHOMAG (Deutsche Hollerith-Maschinen Gesellschaft mbH)- So "from the Americans" is probably a bit far-fetched. During the war, IBM machines for Germany were produced under the DEHOMAG label (an IBM subsidiary) in Berlin-Lichterfelde and Sindelfingen (near Stuttgart).

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    The linked page states that the machines in the General Government were not from DEHOMAG but from New-York controlled Watson Business Machines and that the machines bore English labels. – Vladimir F Feb 21 at 10:13
  • @VladimirF Yes, occupied Poland was supplied with machines directly from the US through a special subsidiary. But we are not talking about occupied Poland here. – tofro Feb 21 at 11:36
  • OK, it took me some time to locate the Rudolfstadt in question, it is likely the Rudolstadt in Thuringia. – Vladimir F Feb 21 at 12:19

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