Scrapbookpages Blog

September 26, 2016

The failed Jewish plot to kill Nazis

Filed under: Germany, World War II — furtherglory @ 10:29 am


Sinwell tower in Nuremberg is shown in my photo above

A Jewish plot to kill Nazis is back in the news. You can read about it at

This quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

Seventy years after the most daring attempt of Jewish Holocaust survivors to seek revenge, the leader of the plot has only one simple regret – that to his knowledge he didn’t actually kill any Nazis.

Joseph Harmatz is one of the few remaining Jewish “Avengers” who carried out a mass poisoning of former SS men in an American-run prisoner-of-war camp in 1946 that sickened more than 2,200 Germans but ultimately caused no known deaths. A recently declassified US military report obtained by the Associated Press has only added to the mystery of why the brazen operation did not kill Nazis, because it shows the amount of arsenic used should have been fatal to tens of thousands.


The mission was simple.

“Kill Germans,” Harmatz said flatly.

How many?

“As many as possible,” he quickly replied.

The first idea described by Harmatz was initiated by the resistance fighter and poet Abba Kovner: to poison the water supply of Nuremberg. But there were deep reservations even among the Avengers that such an operation would bring mass death to innocent Germans and undermine international support for the eventual creation of the state of Israel. Either way, when Kovner sailed for Europe with the poison, he drew suspicion from British authorities and was forced to toss it overboard.

So attention shifted toward Plan B, a more limited operation that specifically targeted the worst Nazi perpetrators.


Undercover members of the group found work at a bakery that supplied the Stalag 13 POW camp at Langwasser, near Nuremberg. On 13 April 1946, using poison procured from one of Kovner’s associates, three members spent two hours coating some 3,000 loaves of bread with arsenic. The goal was to kill 12,000 SS personnel, and Harmatz oversaw the operation from outside the bakery.

“The terrible tragedy was about to be forgotten, and if you don’t punish for one crime, you will get another,” explained Dina Porat, the chief historian at Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial, who is about to publish a book on the Avengers. “This is what was driving them, not only justice but a warning, a warning to the world that you cannot hurt Jews in such a manner and get away with it.”

Under German regulations, authorities in Nuremberg later investigated Harmatz and Leipke Distal, who worked undercover in the bakery for months, after they revealed details of the operation in a 1999 television documentary. The prosecutors eventually concluded that even though there was an attempted murder they would not file charges because of the “extraordinary circumstances”.

End quote

Nuremberg church that was bombed in World War II

Nuremberg church that was bombed in World War II

I was very interested in this story because, when I lived in Germany for 20 months after World War II, the house where I lived was 9 miles from Nuremberg. I used to walk the 9 miles, and back, very frequently.

I took photos of Nuremberg and put them on my website at

While I was living in Germany, I learned how to pronounce the word Nürnberg correctly, but don’t worry: if you mispronounce the word, the Germans are too polite to correct you.