The subject of Nisko is frequently mentioned, by Dr. Wolf Murmelstein, one of the regular readers of my blog. Before I looked up the subject of Nisko on the Internet, I had imagined that Nisko was some God-forsaken place out in the wilderness of Poland. Not true — Nisko was, and still is, a beautiful little town in southern Poland.
So why is the subject of Nisko so important? I am going to attempt to explain it.
The following quote is from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nisko
When Poland was occupied by German forces during World War II, Nisko became part of the Nazi government’s plan to annihilate the Jews. Beginning in 1939, many Jews were shipped to a reservation at Nisko, where they were left to fend for themselves. At this point in Nazi Germany, the policy of mass Jewish killings had not yet taken shape and Germany’s plan still seemed to be the indirect death of European Jews through exile and deportation to inhabitable locations without sufficient supplies, rather than outright murder in extermination camps. This was known as the “Nisko Plan”. While many Jews were shipped to Nisko and left to die without sufficient food or shelter, the plan of creating a reservation was abandoned, supplanted by the Nazi policy of confinement of Jews in ghettos and then deportation to the extermination camps, including nearby Belzec, Sobibor and Majdanek.
During World War Two, Nisko was an important center of the Home Army and Bataliony Chlopskie. In 1944 – 1945, the Red Army and the Soviet NKVD arrested here a number of Poles, executing members of anti-Communist resistance.
The reservation idea was devised by Adolf Hitler with Nazi chief ideologist Alfred Rosenberg and Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, including active participation of SS-Obersturmbannführer and “architect of the Holocaust”, Adolf Eichmann; as well as Hans Frank and Arthur Seyss-Inquart of the Generalgouvernement administration; and Heinrich Müller of the Gestapo. Odilo Globocnik, the former Gauleiter of Vienna, then SS and Police Leader of the Lublin district, implemented the plan and was in direct charge of both the reservation and the adjacent camps.
In total, about 95,000 Jews were deported to the Lublin reservation. The main camp of the entire complex was set up in Belzec initially for the Jewish forced labor. In March 1942 it became the first Nazi extermination camp of Operation Reinhard, with permanent gas chambers arranged by Christian Wirth in fake shower rooms. Though the Burggraben camps were temporarily closed in late 1940, many of them were reactivated in 1941. Two other extermination camps, Sobibor and Majdanek, were later set up in the Lublin district also. The Lipowa camp became a subcamp of the latter in 1943. The Nisko Plan was abandoned for pragmatic reasons.
End quote from Wikipedia
Dr. Murmelstein wrote an essay about Nisko, which I have published on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Contributions/Murmelstein/JewishSettlements.html
The following quote is from Dr. Wolf Murmelstein’s essay, as published on my website:
The very moment to show the Arab friends how Nazi Germany could address Jewish emigration to a destination far away from Palestine came in October 1939 after Poland had been overrun. On October 6th, Hitler, in his speech before the Reichstag, offering in this manner peace talks to the Western Allies, spoke about the new assessment of Poland and mentioned vaguely the idea of a Jewish Settlement Area there.
In the same days of October, a transport of Jewish men of working age from Vienna and Bohemia-Moravia had to be set up, and some leading Community Officials – Murmelstein from Vienna and Edelstein from Prague – with other staff members – had to join. On October 19, 1939, this first transport reached the station of Nisko, a little town in the Lublin area, near the border between the German and the Soviet zones of Poland. After a long march, the group reached a meadow, their destination. The following day, Eichmann gave a speech about building shanties, setting up a health service, an organization to start, etc. as “otherwise it should mean to die.”
In a personal talk, Murmelstein asked about the means available, realizing that there was nothing, as Eichmann advised only: “kick the Polish peasant out and settle in his house.” This seemed to be madness, but a Jewish official, within this mess and ignoring, of course, the political background, could not appreciate the method there was in it.
In those days, other transports arrived; people had been led by armed SS men for some miles and then ordered to disperse: colonization by dispersion of people. A group had been directed right into the marsh; wounded persons lying around had been picked up by the peasants; some brave man had been able to cross the border line towards the Soviet zone.
Murmelstein, after some days, obtained an authorization to leave the camp to look for accommodation opportunities; clearly the very intent was to reach Lublin, asking the Community there for help. In order to have official evidence of efforts performed to find out accommodation opportunities, Murmelstein asked the area prefect for a hearing in order to ask for assent to use some abandoned building as accommodation. As the prefect stated he had no information about things going on, it appeared possible to let local authorities stop the Eichmann action. Murmelstein therefore referred to the October 6th Hitler speech and then to the advice to “kick the Polish peasant out and settle.” The Eichmann march order did not allow putting Murmelstein and his group under arrest, so the prefect ordered them to go to Lublin without any further delay and wait there for instructions.
The Lublin Community leaders were surprised, learning about things going on nearby. Important is that Area Commander SS Colonel Strauch, did not know anything about the Eichmann action. After ten days, Strauch ordered Murmelstein and his colleagues: Return to Nisko for instructions.
Eichmann, at Nisko, sent the leading Jewish officials home in order to catch every possible further emigration opportunity. From Vienna, Prague and Berlin, some thousand persons, until March 1941, could still emigrate during increasing difficulties. No further transports were scheduled to arrive in Nisko any more. The 450 workers returned home after six months. The camp had been set up for the transit of Germans returning from Eastern European countries to the Reich.
General Governor Hans Frank claimed, in a speech, to be the only authority and representative of the Reich in Poland. Hans Frank was not willing to have there an area controlled directly by the SS which would mean also control over him and he preferred to set up overcrowded Ghettoes in town districts. This was another way to show the Arab friends that Jewish emigration had been addressed far away from Palestine; from Poland, no emigration was allowed any more.
End quote from essay by Dr. Wolf Murmelstein
So why is all this important? To me, this indicates that Hitler did not want to kill the Jews, but he did want them out of Germany. He wanted to send them to Poland, but this didn’t work out.