Monday, November 23, 2015
The Nokmim (Hebrew: הנוקמים), also referred to as The Avengers or the Jewish Avengers, were a Jewish partisan militia, formed by Abba Kovner and his lieutenants Vitka Kempner and Rozka Korczak from the surviving remnants of the United Partisan Organization, 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 assassins that targeted Nazi war criminals with the aim of avenging the Holocaust. The name comes from the phrase (Dam Yehudi Nakam–"Jewish Blood Will Be Avenged"; the acronym DIN means "judgement"). founded by Abba Kovner in 1945.
The most extremist group was the Nakam ("vengeance") Group. They numbered around 60 Jews who were former Partisans as well as other Jews who survived the Holocaust. The group arrived in Germany after the war in order to conduct more complicated and fatal vengeance operations. Their ultimate purpose was to execute an operation that would cause a broad international response that would be a warning to anyone who might consider trying to harm Jews again, as the Nazis had. Notables among the Hanakam group were Abba Kovner, Yitzhak Avidav, and Bezalel Michaeli.
According to an interview with The Observer with Lithuanian-born Joseph Harmatz, Kovner obtained a poison from Ephraim and Aharon Katzir. Karmatz also claims that later Israeli President Chaim Weizmann approved of the plan. The poison was claimed to be used on 3000 loaves of bread for former SS guards, currently in American Prisoner of war camp in "Stalag XIII", but he was concealing their bigger plan of poisoning the water supplies of Munich, Berlin, Weimar, Nuremberg and Hamburg. The Nakam group intended to kill 6 million Germans – as many as the Jews who were murdered in 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. 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 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 an Egyptian jail. According to Joseph Harmatz, leader of Nakam after Kovner's arrest, they were betrayed. Although uncertain, he suspects the Zionists sabotaged out of fear that such a crime would diminish support for a Jewish state.
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.
On April 14, 1946, Nakam painted with diluted arsenic some 3,000 loaves of bread for the 12,000 German POWs from the Langwasser internment camp near Nuremberg (Stalag XIII). The camp was under US authority.
1900 German prisoners of war were poisoned in the US camp, and all got "seriously ill".(Associated Press) According to Harmatz (Nakam leader), 300 to 400 Germans died. He said this "was nothing compared with what we really wanted to do."
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.