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Rhonda spivak in Courtroom 600, Nuremberg Palace of Justice, where the Nuremberg trials took place.

Nazi poster of Nuremberg, on display at Nuremberg Documentation Centre
photo by Rhonda Spivak

The Market Square in Nuremberg which is on the site of the Jewish Quarter that was destroyed in 1349. Hitler's Nazi troops would march to the square
photo by Rhonda Spivak


by Rhonda Spivak, Nov 3, 2022


I watched a movie called Plan A, that can be rented on ChaiFlicks Virtual Cinema for $6.99  U.S. , which dramatizes a little known terrible plot by a small group of very traumatized Holocaust survivors, known as Nakam,  to poison the water supply of several German cities, including Nuremberg, and kill 6 million Germans in retribution for the 6 million dead of the Shoah. The genocidal plot hatched in 1945-1946, which ultimately failed, would have murdered innocent civilians-women and children, and thankfully did not come to pass. If it had, it is very doubtful that the world would have backed the Jewish people in establishing the State of Israel. The best revenge for the Holocaust was not in extreme deadly plots, but in survivors' rebuilding their lives, getting married, having children,  and productive careers, and witnessing the birth of the state of Israel.


Nakam, in Hebrew means revenge or vengence, and the leader of the failed plot was Abba Kovner, whose group had obtained  the blueprint of the entire  plan to rebuild the war-ravaged water  facilities in Germany. The film PLAN A, made by two Israeli brothers Yoav and Doron Paz, attempts to portray the human side of revenge. Kovner, who later became a prize winning Israeli poet was  a former art student, who wanted revenge on a biblical scale ("an eye for an eye").

His plan was to poision the water supply in Nuremberg, Weimar, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Munich.


Kovner felt that the upcoming trial of some prominent Nazis wasn’t enough to account for the crimes of the Holocaust.These Nuremberg trials could not possibly hold accountable all Germans who were complicit in the wickedness of the Holocaust. Nor could the Allies’ makeshift POW camps contain them all. As a result, after the war many Nazis could simply go home.


Kovner went to the Jewish Brigade, a unique British army unit, and asked them to help with his plan, but they refused.


Since Nuremberg, the city of the Nazi party rallies, had the most advanced cell of Nakam, the film "Plan A" focuses on Nuremberg,  which later becomes the city where leading Nazi Party officials were tried by the Allies. The film tells the story of  a handful of Jews working undercover in this Nuremberg cell, who are waiting for the poison to arrive, so they can poison Nuremberg's water supply.



Kovner travelled to pre-state Israel to acquire the poison with which to carry out the dark plan. He was however, forced to jettison half of it from the ship he was sailing on back from Alexandria, Egypt to Europe when British authorities announced the false name he was travelling under over the loudspeaker. He gave the rest of the poison to a co-conspirator, who successfully brought  it to Nuremberg where Nakam implemented its “Plan B,” an alternative plan to poison thousands of loaves of bread served to German prisoners of war in the Langwasser internment camp. The camp was run by the Allies  built on what was  the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg. There, approximately 2,000 German POWs actually got sick from the poisoned bread, but none were said to have died as a result of the poisoning. 


Nakam had an inside man in the bakery that supplied the Nazi POW's with their daily bread. A large quantity of arsenic that had been smuggled into Nuremberg was stored beneath the bakery’s floorboards. 


In the end, it’s unclear whether Kovner was even questioned by the British about Nakam once he was arrested, and he was released after two months, and  did not return to his vengeful activities.


What is clear is the David Ben-Gurion did not approve of Kovner's approach, and  did not want him to be successful or partially successful, as the plan would have jeopardized international backing for the creation of the State of Israel. Some historians suggest it was  Ben-Gurion who snitched on Kovner and told the British authorities about him, which is why he was caught.


Ultimately, neither Kovner nor any other Nakam member was charged with any crimes in connection with Plan A or Plan B. Apparently, decades later, German prosecutors investigated the matter but wouldn’t file charges due to “extraordinary circumstances.”


The film does not deal with Plan B, only Plan A, although I think it would have been more interesting if it had covered Plan B.


On the whole, I recommend seeing the film Plan A because the story it dramatizes is so fascinating, but the film definitely has its defects.  One aggravating one is that at times it is difficult to hear the conversation that takes place, and if you up the volume, the background sound becomes too loud. The storytelling also isn't  as strong as it could be, given the astonishing nature of the plot behind Plan A.


It should be noted that the film makers, Yoav and Doron Paz,  learned about Nakam through a book by Prof. Dina Porat, the Alfred P. Slaner Chair for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, as well as the chief historian at Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum, Yad Vashem.


The trailer for Plan A can be found here:


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.