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The Nakam, formerly the Nokmim ("Avengers"), were a Jewish terrorist group led by Abba Kovner, which operated in Lithuania under Soviet command.

After World War II, elements of the Nokmim combined with veterans of the Jewish Brigade in British Palestine to form a new organization called Nakam, a group of around 60 Jews that planned to assassinate National Socialists who were suspected or alleged war criminals and to conduct a genocidal mass killing of six million Germans, with the aim of avenging the so-called Holocaust.[1]

The name comes from the phrase "Dam Yehudi Nakam"–"Jewish Blood Will Be Avenged", the acronym DIN means "judgment".[2]

The Nakam Group

Vilna Ghetto terrorists, some of whom joined the group 'Nakam'. Abba Kovner at the center.

According to an Observer newspaper interview with Lithuanian-born Jew Joseph Harmatz,[2] Kovner obtained a poison from Ephraim Katzir and Aharon Katzir. Harmatz also claims that later Israeli President Chaim Weizmann approved of the plan. The poison was claimed to be used on 3,000 loaves of bread for former SS guards in an American prisoner of war camp, "Stalag 13",[2] but he was concealing their bigger plan of poisoning the water supplies of Munich, Berlin, Weimar, Nuremberg and Hamburg.[1] The Nakam group intended to kill six million Germans[2] – as many as the six million Jews alleged to have died during the Holocaust. According to Harmatz, they would have taken care to exempt American residential areas from the area, so as to murder only Germans as far as possible.[1] It was alleged that the Katzir brothers supplied Harmatz with the poison and that the Haganah gave Kovner false documents of a supposedly Jewish Brigade soldier, and he boarded a ship in the port of Haifa. When the ship approached Toulon in France, the British discovered that Kovner's papers were forged. His accomplices managed to throw the poison overboard. Kovner was sent to a British gaol in Egypt.[2] According to Joseph Harmatz, the leader of Nakam after Kovner's arrest, they were betrayed. Although uncertain, he suspects the Zionists sabotaged out of fear that such an act would diminish support for a Jewish state.[2]

As a result of the failure of the mass poisoning plan, it was decided to move to Plan B. Under the command of Kovner's deputy, Yitzhak Avidav, the Hanakam group poisoned hundreds of loaves of bread that were designated for the S.S. prisoners.[3] On 14 April 1946, Nakam tainted with diluted arsenic some 3,000 loaves of bread for the 15,000 German POWs from the Langwasser internment camp near Nuremberg (Stalag 13). The camp was under USA authority.[1] On 23 April 1946, the New York Times reported that 2,283 German prisoners of war had fallen ill from poisoning, with 207 hospitalized and "seriously ill".[1] According to Harmatz, 300 to 400 Germans died. He said this "was nothing compared with what we really wanted to do."[2] However, a 2016 report by the Associated Press revealed that the operation ultimately caused no known deaths, despite documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request to the National Archives and Records Administration stating that the amount of arsenic found in the bakery was enough to kill approximately 60,000 persons. It is speculated that the plotters in their haste spread the poison too thinly.[3]

The public prosecutor's office within the higher regional court at Nuremberg stopped the preliminary investigation of attempted murder in May 2000 against two Nakam activists, who professed to have involvement in the incident. The public prosecutor's office cited statute of limitations laws (In German: Verjährung) "due to unusual circumstances" as reasoning for the suspension of the investigation.[4]

Killing and torturing people suspected of involvement with the Holocaust

Wikipedia claims that the numbers of people suspected of involvement with the Holocaust that the group killed is unknown, but may have been as high as 1,500. "Information regarding the whereabouts of these fugitives was gathered either by torturing imprisoned Nazis or by way of military connections."[5]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Freedland, Jonathan (July 26, 2008). "Revenge". The Guardian. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Davis, Douglas (March 27, 1998). "Survivor reveals 1945 plan to kill 6 million Germans". Jweekly. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Associated Press (31 August 2016). "Jewish avengers unapologetic for targeting Nazis after WWII". Fox News. Retrieved 1 September 2016. 
  4. "Gericht. Jüdischer Giftanschlag auf Nürnberger Nazi-Lager verjährt. Tausende Laib Brot mit Arsen bestrichen. Richter erkannten das persönliche Schicksal der Täter als Schuld mildernd an" (in German), WAZ, 2000-05-09 
  5. Jewish Brigade