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Soviets vs Nazis in Information Systems

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posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 02:59 AM
Recently I made a "discovery" that a monstrous state-wide human resources system has been built in USSR in late 1930-s. It worked on several million personal dossiers for every communist and for every significant specialist in the country. Most of staff appointments in the country (down to approx. head of a post office) were made by this system. And it appears that every whistle blow in the country was processed and recorded.

Pretty fantastic thing for 1930-s.
I'd like to know how it compares against other similar projects in pre-computer world.

Totalitarian regimes have more zeal to know everything about everybody. So my first thought is of course about Nazi Germany. Did Nazis have anything like that? For example "Osenberg list" [] of 4000 scientists and engineers recalled from army in 1942 does look like some select from larger database.

Most important effect of Soviet HR system was upon advancing technologies. Its author - Georgy Malenkov also was the head of Soviet rocket startup in 1944-47 and also participated in nuclear program.

I would also greatly appreciate any link or book on "ancient" history of databases (with principles of their work. I think it may be more complex and interesting than merely library system). Unfortunately Wikipedia starts history of databases by 1960-s

My "discovery" is here (sorry it's in russian):

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 03:09 AM
You know, the Nazis also used a giant computer system which used punch cards during World War 2 to keep an accurate record of all inmates being held in each detention camp. The computer, itself, was build and sold by IBM.

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 04:00 AM
Yes, thanks it's a right story to be mentioned as it also illustrates Nazis' progress in information systems. But it's about some advanced machines running pretty trivial database.
Yet here the talk is not about computers. I am interested in big and complex databases (more complex than library or medical records systems ) run by traditional methods.

posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 10:54 AM
Wow! Thanks once more! On further inspecting your idea I found that it was not just a database of camp inmates. Actually, it was also a state-wide sophisticated system of census data analysis. With one goal to identify all Jews in Germany.
Indeed, excellent answer to my question. Soviet system also was not only for good - from time to time it was used to retrieve listings of "enemies of the people" in accordance with changing criteria from political leadership.

Yet I still interested in systems which gave some more useful results than just "Jew or not Jew" identification

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