Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Survivors recount plot to kill Nazis

Full article on Jpost:

A group of elderly Holocaust survivors came forward Friday with accounts of a death squad they formed after World War II to take revenge on their Nazi persecutors, recounting a brazen operation in which they poisoned hundreds of SS officers.

In a broadcast on Channel Two TV, the survivors - some of whom fought in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising - recalled hunting down SS officers in the dead of night. Disguised as British or American officers, they would drag the SS men out of their homes and execute them, they said.
In their largest operation, the group, code-named "the Avengers," received a large amount of arsenic from Paris and laced loaves of bread fed to hundreds of SS officers imprisoned in an American camp after the war.

They said they were also planning a broad operation in Dachau and Nuremberg, but the Jewish leadership in what would soon become Israel forced them to abandon the plan.
"I didn't see myself as a murderer, not then and not today," group member Simcha Rotem told Channel Two.

The broadcast focused on a rare reunion of the group that took place earlier this month in a Tel Aviv suburb. Sixty years after the end of World War II, with most of several dozen "Avengers" either dead or in their late 70s and 80s, Rotem told The Associated Press they gave into family pressure to recount their experiences to their children, grandchildren and other relatives.

Over the years, reports of such Jewish death squads have surfaced and several books have been written. The Israeli government has often turned a blind eye to the reports. Earlier this year, it refused a request from Poland to extradite a suspected death squad member.

Aaron Breitbart, senior researcher at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said the tale of the bread-poisoning plot is plausible.

"This is not a story that somebody is telling out of a hat. There was such a plan. We just don't know how close they got" to carrying it out, Breitbart said.