Long-lost tapes reveal details of a foiled plan by the Jewish Avengers to kill six million Germans by poisoning the country’s water supply in revenge for the Holocaust.
Film maker Avi Merkado found ten tapes, buried in a museum in Israel, which detailed how a band of Jewish partisans formed after the Second World War.
The recordings – which have never been heard in public – are at the heart of a new documentary entitled Holocaust: The Revenge Plot, due to air on January 27.
A group shot of the Avengers probably taken in Vilnius, Lithuania, in the mid 1940s – with Kovner centre-back
Researchers from the documentary tracked down the son of Avengers Avi and Leopold Vassiman, known as Poldeck (pictured), now 93, who was responsible for financing the operation
Recorded in 1985, when their leader Vilnius Ghetto survivor and Israeli poet Abba Kovner, was dying of cancer, they provide the most detailed account of the group’s 1946 plans.
The tapes describe how The Avengers, led by Kovner and Pasha Reichmann, funded their activities with £5 notes, forged by Jews in concentration camps and exchanged on the black market.
They claim that the late Israeli Presidents, Chaim Weizmann and Ephraim Katzir, were instrumental in helping the Avengers acquire the poison they needed for their audacious plot.
They describe how Avengers’ agents infiltrated the waterworks of four German cities – Hamburg, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Munich – but plans to poison the water supplies were foiled when Kovner was arrested at sea.
The Channel 4 documentary Holocaust: The Revenge Plot, to be screened on January 27
The programme will include interviews six of the remaining Avengers, including Auschwitz survivor Yehuda Maimon and Simcha Rotem
And they talk about their second mass murder attempt to poison the bread of 50,000 SS officers in Prisoner of War camps in Nuremberg and Munich, which was more successful, striking down up to 2,000 victims.
Mr Merkado told MailOnline: ‘The story of the tapes started a few years ago with Kovner’s grandson Nimrod. He was moving into his grandfather’s old house and boxes of his possessions were taken to the Museum.
‘After talking to Avi Avidov, who was Pasha Reichmann’s son, who taught me my BA, I found a tape in a box of his old things. I thought there must be more, so I went to the Museum and went through his stuff and eventually found ten tapes. It was a Eureka moment.
‘I was especially interested in the interview with Abba Kovner at the beginning when he explained how they did it and why they felt it necessary to make a response to the horrors.’
Still of drama reconstruction of the Avengers meeting in Vilnius during the war
The Channel 4 documentary Holocaust: The Revenge Plot, to be screened on January 27, interviews six of the remaining Avengers, including Auschwitz survivor Yehuda Maimon, Simcha Rotem – the last survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – and Hasia Warshawski, a woman so traumatised by events that she has never spoken before in public.
They have also tracked down Kovner’s son Michael, Reichmann’s son Avi and Leopold Vassiman, known as Poldeck, now 93, who was responsible for financing the operation.
He came up with the ingenious – and ironic – source of cash, buying £5 notes, which had been forged in concentration camps, in Germany and selling them on the Italian black market. ‘The difference we got between the buying and the selling rates paid for our living expenses,’ he revealed.
Executive co-producer Dinah Lord said: ‘This is an incredible story that very few people will know, told from the first-hand perspective of the last survivors directly involved and based on extensive research which has unearthed remarkable new evidence.’
Commissioning editor Rob Coldstream added: ‘We are proud to have this remarkable film. Both intensely moving and deeply shocking it packs a real emotional punch – and by flipping the traditional Holocaust narrative on its head asks profound questions about the nature of justice.’
:: Holocaust: The Revenge Plot, is screened at 9pm on Holocaust Memorial Day, January 27, on Channel 4