Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part Two: A Tale of Revenge

Part Two: A Tale of Revenge

Thu, 15 Dec 2022 11:00

Robert is joined again by Margaret Killjoy for part two of our annual Christmas non-bastard episode to continue to discuss Nakam, a terrorist group made up of Holocaust survivors who sought vengeance against the Nazis.

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Go to slash podcast 25 and for a limited time get $25 off when you use promo code podcast 25. Hi there I'm Dr. John White, WebMD's Chief Medical Officer and host of the Spotlight on Series from our Health Discovered Podcast. In this special episode brought to you by Cossentics, we'll dive into psoriasis. It's accompanying comorbidities and its impact on mental health. It's much more than a skin condition and I experienced many of the things that can come along with psoriasis. Obesity, metabolic syndrome, anxiety and depression, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. My cholesterol levels were not normal. Anxiety and depression were part and parcel of dealing with chronic disease overall. I kind of had the full bouquet of all of those things. Sort of that unmitigated like inflammatory condition is really dangerous. Please listen to health discovered on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcast. Sovi make sure the episode starts about six minutes back. This is Behind the Bastards of Podcast by Robert Evans. About Robert Evans, the bastard who just went. I didn't know what was happening. This podcast is an engine and the fuel is you being frustrated with me. We are going to be the first human beings on fucking Mars is what we're going to do. We're starting. Are we announcing the competitor to SpaceX that you started? SpaceX is going to get their asses kicked by frustrated sofx. I thought it was SpaceX Y and it was a reference to the trend when I met the hell. Nice. Nice. There's a lot of things that could be a reference to Margaret. Yes. Kill Joy. That's what do you do at the start of this podcast? What do you do? What do you do? How do you justify my existence? That's right. Because everyone has to. That's harder. I write stuff. I write fiction and I write a podcast called Cool People. It's so far. It's so far. Yes. It's so far. It's really cool. What else do I do? I hang out with my dog. He's becoming a reasonable creature. He's about 14 or 15 months old now. Way more hand-alable. I live alone on a mountain in West Virginia and I watch the world crumble as I install solar panels and run another podcast about prepping called Live Like the World is Dying. That does sound nice. That does sound nice. Margaret, you know who didn't live on the top of a mountain is Abacovna. He lived in Vilna, which was a rough place to live in the period of time that we're talking about. Yeah. He beat the odds. That's the depressing way of saying. He has already beaten the odds because nearly everyone he knows has been exterminated by the Nazis. Yeah. As we start part two, so Coviner has just issued what we've become known as the Pomeveri Manifesto. And it electrifies the room. There's also, and this is not his fault, one of the problems that exists within the way in which some people talk about the Holocaust is there's this attitude that there's this errant belief that Jews went to the death camps kind of passively, like sheep to the slaughter, right? Like that. And that some of that comes from, he says, let us not go like sheep to the slaughter. And there were some like mistranslations that like make it seem like he's saying people were going like sheep to the slaughter. And then even if you're looking at the stories of people who were killed in the camps, it was very rarely passive, even to the extent that like people were trying to like take care of their families and keep their their children from panning like none of this was like passive. People were dealing with a nightmare in the best way that they had available. And there was in fact a lot of resistance, which we're going to talk about. And this is a story. Hell yeah. I'm aware of like one pop culture touchdown from this. I get into arguments periodically online with people about armed self-defense. And one of the things that keep that some folks will bring up is that like well none of it, you know, none of it would have helped Jews during the Holocaust. And the reality is that having guns did help quite a few Jews during the Holocaust. There was a tremendous history of partisan resistance. And if you would like to see a reasonably good movie about that starring Daniel Craig, you can watch the movie defiance, which is about the Bielski Autriad, which was a group of eventually a couple of thousand centered around these brothers who I think were basically gangsters prior to the war, which is why they had access to some of the some weapons. I'm not 100% on that, but I believe that's the story with them. But it's about this group who took to the woods of Poland after the German invasion. And eventually we're able to protect several thousand people and fight as partisans. There was a significant number of partisans. And Kovner and his members of the Hatsome or Hatser are going to become some of those partisans. And one of the things that I get really frustrated when people talk about that kind of stuff too is that the first thing, again, the only one I've done a lot of research about is the Warsaw ghetto uprising. And the main task in front of people, the dangerous immediate task was literally just getting small arms. Yeah, small arms, people are like explosives, manufacturing. Yeah. Anyway, I don't know. Anyway, yeah, it's it's I don't know. I got really mad at the way people talk about a lot of the stuff. Yeah. And I think one of the things, because we're again, Kovner ends on a problematic note, shall we say. Okay. One of the things he's right about is that like, look, now we know what's happening. Nobody's coming to save us. We have to find a way to kill as many of these Nazi sons of bitches as we possibly can, which is the a great thing to do. Again, a nun is smuggling hand grenades into the ghetto so that they can murder Germans. Like this is where this is where the line is now. Yeah. So Kovner, the Ponyri manifesto electrifies, because he delivers this first to just kind of a roomful of youth movement members that he reads it to during a meeting that they they were holding because it was during New Year's celebration. So it was easy to kind of disguise the fact that people were gathering, but it spreads very quickly through Jewish Europe. And it ignites a rapid change in the kind of conversations being held underground in ghettos across the greater German Reich. No longer was the discussion about hiding and avoiding German wrath. Talk started to turn towards the concept of resistance and reprisal. In 1942, Kovner helped to found the FPO or United Partisans organization. This was a pan ideological, because again, even after the Nazis took over a lot of these different, because you've got your communists, some of whom were like insurrectionary, some of whom are Zionists, and you got your socialists and you got your kind of more centrist, even right wing folks who are Zionists, and you've got, you know, again, people who aren't Zionists, but who are like left wing activists, all these different youth organizations that are constantly fighting each other. And Kovner is like, look, we can't do that right now. That can come later. It's going to take everything we have just to not get wiped out. So let's all like, basically, and his pitch is basically like nearly all of us are dead already. What do politics matter? It's time to kill these fucking Nazis. And basically, at this point, basically everyone's like, yeah, you know what? That actually makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So the FPO gets formed. Kovner is one of the people starting this. There's a number of of leaders and stuff in the area of Lithuania that are doing this. The guy who gets elected to lead the order, they hold a vote, because there's about 300 of them. They hold a vote, and the guy who gets elected to lead is a very cool dude called Yitzhak Wittenberg, and he is a communist. And they split the organization up into these five man cells, and several five man groups make up a platoon. And then the platoons are split into two battalions. And Kovner is commanding one of these battalions. He calls his men the Avengers, and they set out soon to the work of stealing. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. To the work of stealing more guns and explosives in order to prepare for a broader armed insurrection of the ghetto. The FPO makes contacts with Soviet partisans and the woods, and they work alongside the Polish communist underground. These are just like Polish communist who aren't Jewish. Yeah. To launch a series of daring attacks on German military targets. And I'm going to quote now from Elat Gordon Levitan. Quote, the Vilni-Ghetto fighters blew up a German military train smuggled in arms, sabotaged German military equipment, and set up an illegal printing press outside the ghetto and established ties to the Soviet resistance in the city and the forests. They also sent emissaries to the Warsaw and Bialystok ghettos to warn the inhabitants about the mass killing of Jews and the occupied Soviet Union and to incite resistance. And they do like a meaningful amount of damage. They destroy, I think, a few dozen trains. They kill like 71 Germans. They rescue a couple of hundred like Jewish people who are at, you know, going to be eradicated and whatnot. Like they do quite a bit of damage. And they focus mostly a lot like the anarchists in like Russia right now are focusing on blowing up trains, on blowing, on destroying trains and derailing trains, right? To stop the flow of war material and harm the Nazi war effort and also harm their effort to like deport and murder more Jews. Okay. Yeah. By 1943 the Germans have grown wary enough of the FPO that they launched a major crackdown and eventually succeeded in capturing several officers of Vilna's non-Jewish communist underground. From these men they learned that Wittenberg was the elected head of the Jewish Resistance. They surrounded the Vilnegetto and promised to destroy it all and kill all 20,000 people inside unless Wittenberg was turned over to them. And this is a fascinating story because Wittenberg gets captured at one point and they carry out a prison break and they free him. But then the Germans are like, we're just going to kill everybody if we don't get this guy. So in an act of almost unfathomable courage Wittenberg hands himself over to the Nazis and then commit suicide in German custody to save everybody else. And control of the organization now hands is handed over to Kovner. When the Nazis destroyed the ghetto anyway later that year, Kovner and his surviving men flee into the woods around Vilna where they liaise with Soviet partisans and carry out even more insurgent attacks against the Germans. By July of 1944 the German military is collapsing in the east and Kovner takes part in the liberation of Vilna with other partisans. It was a pirate victory at best. More than 40,000 Jews had been killed. The ghetto was basically nothing but ashes and bones. As this quote from the book into calm makes clear. The visitors returned stunned and tense from the blunt reality of speaking wide-scale slaughter into gigantic round pits and from the beach-shell brutality of those who had aimed deadly gunfire face to face at living creatures. Evidence of that brutality was still visible, scattered bodies remained that had not yet received proper burial and the visitors knew very well who had been killed there at the edge of the pits. Their parents and all of their neighbors acquaintances well to do in proletarian pious assimilated and baptized communal leaders, synagogue functionaries, peddlers and drawers of water, communists and Zionists and electuals artists and village idiots, some 4,000 babies, all of them. As writer Amos Oz described the individuish community. When the visit was over, Kovner composed a detailed questionnaire and the survivors who had begun to gather filled it out. The copies were collected with a view to preparing for future trials, punishment and vengeance. Now, Kovner gets no time to like, what's that? Oh, it's just, I mean, one, I just have to sit on that, right? But one of the things that it occurs to me, I mean, I remember a friend of mine describing to continue Margaret's crime school. Sometimes it's safer at the front, not like the front in terms of like a war, right? But like, you know, sometimes being up where the conflict is happening is safer, like literally, and I'm not trying to tell people what they should have done retroactively. It's just interesting to me that it's like, I mean, it sounds like the reason that the partisans survived is that they were partisans and they were used to moving in and out to the woods. Yeah. Yeah. And they escape a lot of them get out through the sewers and stuff. Like, yeah, they barely make it out in a lot of cases. Yeah. And I'm sure a ton of them don't. I'm not trying to be like, oh, it's easy. Everyone should just go do that, you know, but yeah. Anyway. Yep. It is, it is pretty, pretty fucked up, Margaret. Yeah. So, Kovner was soon obliged to leave Vilma with his avengers. He doesn't really have any time to like, nobody has time to process this, right? Yeah. Like they might not want to. Yeah. That's the later. That's exactly. They move immediately on with the advancing Red Army, right? And our continuing two-actes insurgents, basically kind of ahead of the main advance harassing Nazi forces as they retreat. And while he's doing this, he repeatedly lobbies with the Soviets to establish a partisan regiment of Jewish Holocaust survivors to carry out acts of sabotage in Germany to sneak into Germany and start blowing up German into Israel. The Soviets don't entirely trust him or other Jewish youth movement veterans since they're all Zionists and this does not happen. Fucking Stalin. And also, Kovner is breaking Soviet law in this period because while he is fighting and while he's advancing, he is, he's this kind of guy who is, he's just an expert organizer. So while they're doing this, he is building an underground railroad to smuggle Jews from the fires of the Holocaust over to the British mandate in Palestine. He's like building an organization to do this as he is running an insurgent war. Yeah. He's a, he's very good at organizing. Obviously, he's not the only one doing this, but he's a major, major figure in it. Right. His experience, building and maintaining connections between a far-flung network of insurgents made him kind of the perfect man for this. And again, it's worth remembering that during this period, getting Jews out of Poland and into Palestine was often the only way to keep them alive. Pogroms and massacres of Jews continued even as the Nazis retreated. We're going to talk about that more later. All right. He established another clandestine organization as he traveled across Europe, a balloon called Brickha, and it's again, it's this underground railroad type sort of situation. As he makes connections with survivors across Europe's Jewish communities, he starts to come face to face with survivors of the Nazi death camps. He and his, and again, these guys, these guys aren't going to camps, right? In Lithuanian villas, there's not like a big shot. They're being shot in the fucking woods. That's how that's how the Holocaust starts. Yeah. So they're finding out about the death camps as they are as they're moving west and meeting people who had been there. And then later in 1944, he and his Avengers helped to liberate Mashdenek, and they see their first concentration camp. Now, Mashdenek was located in a suburb of Lublin, Poland, and somewhere around 360,000 people were massacred there. So, Covenant comes from Vilna, where 40 to 60,000 Jews are killed. And this is like already broken him, right? This is like turned him into this kind of force for vengeance. And then he realizes that like, Vilna is a blip on the radar in the total number of people who are being killed. And he starts to realize the scale of the Holocaust, right? The, like the truly Titanic scabled of the killings that have been carried out. Yeah. Coming face to face with Mashdenek, convinced Covenant that simple military victory against the Germans was no longer sufficient. Images of a death camp were stuck in his mind now. He had spent years obsessed with the destruction of the Vilna ghetto, his home, and then he'd come face to face with a massacre six times greater than the entire Jewish population of his hometown. And even as the war ended in German defeat, stories of more massacres poured in. Some of these were stories of the greatest death camps like Auschwitz, but others were stories of massacres of Jews committed by forces who were not Nazis. And I'm going to quote again from the book Decom. When Jews returned in July 1944 to Kiev and hoped to reoccupy their houses, they discovered Ukrainian squatters who refused to vacate. The Ukrainians started throwing Jews from moving train cars and beating random Jews. The feeling was of an impending pogrom. There was no one to turn to with an alert. In July of 1944, upon the liberation of Lithuania, Jews who returned to their homes from the forests and hideouts, attempting to find relatives and perhaps a small fraction of their properties were murdered on their doorsteps by neighbors and local Lithuanian gangs who hidden the forests and elsewhere in order to not be conscripted by the Germans. In the pockets of five Jews who had survived the Holocaust, but were then murdered in the Lithuanian town of Issykies, a note was found in Polish saying, this will be the fate of all the Jews left alive. So this doesn't put Covner and his men into women. I think it might even be a pretty even split of men and women in his insurgent organization. They're kind of out of their minds at this point, right? Not only you have to think like because the Holocaust is still happening because now it's a decent, decentralized Holocaust because everyone is fucking dead. And this is again, if you have ever had PTSD, what that means, I'm not trying to, I'm not, again, I have had it. I've had a couple of PTSD breaks. I am not trying to be, I don't mean this in a negative way, you're crazy, right? Like that's what you're kind of out of your mind for a while. That's part of the problem. And these people are dealing with not only like the most PTSD I can fucking imagine. But now they realize that like it's not over. The massacre is continuing. And all of this is happening like while they are continuing to fight a war. And so between the grief of losing all of their loved ones and friends and the trauma of years of underground fighting, deadly partisan combat, these people are in what you might call a particular state of mind. The most obvious consequence is of this is an obsession with vengeance, which the end of the war does not slake. And as the war kind of comes to an end, a lot of these Jewish partisans, people who are friends and affiliated with with with Kofner members of different Zionist youth groups in Poland, they start to carry out attacks in areas that have already been liberated, places where the war has come to an end. And I'm going to read a quote from the book Nekom here. Naza group a group of Zionist youth members from Bedzin, Poland, aimed to exact vengeance in Germany. Emile Brigg later a hero in Israel's war of well in the Arab-Israeli war recounted, uh, we have she uses the term Israel's war of independence like you can, whatever. We had nothing to lose. We wanted only revenge young men and women burning with vengeance for vengeance with nothing in their world, but a mighty urge to kill Germans and to destroy whoever was collaborating with Germans. Some members of Naza group who had volunteered for the Red Army succeeded in acts of vengeance, but not as much as they had wished, not as Jews, not as representatives of the entire Jewish nation against the entire German nation. One of them, Manos Diamant, visited Auschwitz as soon as the war rented. And he saw this command written on one of the walls of the torture chambers. Jews take vengeance. These words guided his future. He and Alex Gatman, a fellow member of the group, headed a squad in Austria that executed those who had been found guilty. Most of the members felt as if they were judges without robes. Judges of a special kind who together delivered and immediately carried out their sentences. They bound and gagged suspects held a few minutes of trial proceedings for each and read an indictment. They prosecuted murderers who had been active in the ghettos and concentration camps. Those who had killed with their own hands and could be reliably identified in the group's opinion by at least two witnesses. No court of true justice in the world would have handed down a different verdict if he confessed on his own without being interrogated. Said Diamant. These killers were mostly but not always SS troops. The group then killed the suspect. For example, four young men who had been freed from the Landsberg, offering concentration camp near Munich stole British jeeps and drove to a neighboring town, where they mounted a pogrom of their own for four or five hours, punching and beating. Soldiers of the Jewish brigade who arrived at the scene stood there stunned. They couldn't agree with this and sent us away. We broke everything around. We broke windows. We hit children and old people too. The hatred inside of us was terrible, a heavy burden of rage. It is difficult to determine how many such incidents occurred with survivors taking action either independently or with a few comrades. So again, there's like this stuff is happening as the war is. There's like guys busting like stealing British military shit and just driving into German towns and just beating the shit out of everybody they encounter. Which like I get it man. Yeah. It's not good. It's not. But it's justice. But it's inevitable. It's the inevitable consequence of what the Nazis did. I feel like there's a difference between justice and consequences that doesn't get talked enough. I don't know. You do a bunch of bad shit and some other bad shit's going to happen. And it's not justified inherently. That kid who got beat didn't do anything. It's not good. It's just a thing. It's just. Well, that's just going to happen. Yeah. If you're going to say, I think it is bad. It's bad if children are getting beaten in the street. Yeah. Totally. Even if the children believed the fucked up things their parents told them, they're not responsible for it. But also like literally what defines children. The bad thing that's being done here. I would say even though it's being committed by these like Jewish concentration camp survivors, the evil is still on the Nazis. They're responsible for those kids getting beaten in the street. Right. It's not the fault of the people who lost everything and are like, what? These people just get to go on living their lives. No, we're going to start hitting them with a fucking bat. That's, you know, it's not it's not it's not on them is what I will say. Just like those kids can't be responsible. Nobody who's just gotten out of a concentration camp can be responsible for their actions in this case. That's yeah. God, that's interesting. Yeah. Yeah. It's a kite. If you are a person who believes that temporary insanity can render one less complicit in an act of violence, you have to say it applies here. Like I can't imagine a better example of that. Yeah. But you know what I can imagine, Margaret? What can you imagine? A beautiful world, a perfect world, Margaret. A shining city upon a hill where people can purchase the products and services that support this podcast. A whole city. A whole city, Margaret of just gold and podcasts. That's right. That's right. That's right. Advertisers. We're going to build it together. We're going to make it real as one. I'm so excited to be part of this. So am I. This podcast is sponsored by GIF Well. Hey, it's the holidays. It is a great time to open your hearts and your wallet to help out other people. But if you're donating to a charity this season, how can you feel confident that your donations are making the best impact they could make? Well, you could do hours of research yourself or you could visit GIF There you'll find free research and recommendations about charities that can save or improve the most lives per dollar. GIF Well spends over 30,000 hours each year researching charitable organizations and they only direct funding to a few of the highest impact evidence-based opportunities they found. Over a hundred thousand donors have used GIF Well to donate more than a billion dollars. And evidence suggests that these donations will save over 150,000 lives. If you've never donated to GIF Well's recommended charities before, you can have your donation matched by up to $100 before the end of the year or as long as matching funds last. To claim your match, go to GIF and pick podcasts and enter behind the bastards at checkout. Make sure they know that you heard about GIF Well from behind the bastards to get your donation matched. Robert Evans here. It's been more than six months since I got LASIK and I am still seeing better than 2020. I can't tell you how much this has changed my life for the better. I was recently out for three days over landing in the woods camping and I didn't have to wake up with my eyes not working every morning in pop-in contacts. I didn't have to keep track of glasses. Didn't have to deal with glasses in the rain. Everything is just so much easier since I got LASIK. And of course, the whole process was easy. The exam was simple and convenient. Treatment just took minutes. I was back to work the next day and now I'm looking forward to the holiday season without glasses and contacts. LASIK Plus is a leader in laser vision correction in the United States. Over 20 years in the industry, they've performed more than two million treatments. LASIK is all they do so they can focus their expertise. So right now, you can get 20% off LASIK when treated in December. That's over $900 off when treating both eyes. 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That's slash BTB for 25% off. Again, join Lifelock today at slash BTB for 25% off. Oh, we're back. We've just built a shining city upon a hill. It's great. You can get like five different kinds of mattresses there. Back to the story. So, Covener and his mates, along with a lot of other Holocaust survivors, are kind of spiraling as the war comes to an end. And once the fighting actually stops for them, everything gets worse, right? As bad as their mind state had been previously, they at least had had fighting to focus on. Once the fighting's, once there's no fighting for them to do, they have nothing but their thoughts, right? And that is not a good place to be in. So while they're kind of trying to cope with the end of their part in the war, the Allies are arresting a bunch of German officers. They are starting to carry out the justice part of the victory. But it quickly becomes clear to Abacovner that the Allies aren't really interested in ensuring anything that he would consider to be justice. So in April of 1945, mere weeks before Hitler's suicide, Abacovner met with a number of his partisans and a group of Auschwitz survivors in a flat near the recently liberated city of Lublin, Poland. This is right after they've liberated that death camp, Mashdanek. Yeah. Covner, the man who had first warned Jewish Europe about Germany's plans to kill them all, delivered another address. He warned them first that the Holocaust was not over. And that some terrible form of terrible vengeance against the Germans was necessary as an act of self-defense. Part of what he's saying here is, look, the Poles are still killing us, the Ukrainians are still killing us, the Lithuanians are still killing us, the Nazis are gone, but they're still killing us. And it's because they think they can get away with it because the Germans did. Right. So we have to carry out an act of vengeance against the Germans so people stop killing us. Oh, interesting. Okay. He tells them the act should be shocking. The Germans should know that after Auschwitz, there can be no return to normality. And this is their versions of this idea. There's one famous survivor in academic who I think the exact line is poetry after Auschwitz is obscene, right? The severity of this crime has rendered the human attempt to create art and obscenity. Yeah. There's a variety. And Kovner's attitude is that they can't do this and just continue to be a country. It's kind of fair. Yeah. It's hard to argue with the man, right? So survivors at the meeting recalled that as usual, Kovner's eloquence was hypnotizing. One person who was there described their mind state listening to him this way. Those who came away from the smoke stacks of the Crematory and know what they want. We want tanks demolishing city streets. Rebuilding comes later. Our job now is destruction. Who dares deny it to us? We are Frankenstein's. We who came away from the ruins will show the world. We will snatch up the name Jew in every language and uplift it. Words of vengeance will light our way. For as long as one member of this nation remains, we shall not rest. Now this... Yeah, that's sketchy. Yeah. This is some unsettling shit that we're delving into. Now is that in a like... No one should be calling themselves Germans because we've destroyed the state of Germany. Or does that mean like literally every German citizen must die? Let's talk about that in a little bit, Margaret. Okay. Where you should know is that on a religious note, the idea of vengeance is not something that is permitted in the Jewish faith. Okay. And Talmudic law. And the Talmud is... You've got like the Torah, right? Which is the Old Testament, effectively. The Talmud is like, I think like 800 years of basically commentary from different religious scholars on the Torah. Yeah. And in Talmudic law, personal vengeance is forbidden, right? Like vengeance is mine, say, Etheloy. That mean like vengeance is something God can do. God can take revenge. You should not take... Because it's bad for you, right? It's like bad to... Like it is bad for people to obsess over revenge. Yeah. And it doesn't... It doesn't fit within my context of like... And this is like... I'm not like sitting on my my my rolly chair in my studio at home in West Virginia and like trying to cast judgment. But like one of my favorite anarchist assassins who's named I suddenly forget, I think it's Kurt Wilkins. His quote after he killed someone who had killed 1500 anarchist and indigenous people in South America, his quote was, vengeance is unbecoming of an anarchist. Even though he had just done a vengeance, he saw it as this like problem solving, right? Yeah. But the concept of vengeance is like not problem solving. It's problem perpetuating most of the time. And so it's like not inherently just. But that that said and so that that maps as... I don't know, I'm just mapping Talmudic law to that as well. I guess it's like this idea that... Yeah. It's not to note that like God. But it's not understandable. It's not good. And it is within kind of the structures of the Jewish religion. It is something that specifically you're not supposed to seek as a person. Okay. Covener in his fellow survivors though. Again, these guys were not most of the many of them. Some of these guys had been like religious scientists. Some of them had not been Zionists. Some of them have been... A lot of them have been communist because Covener's more on the left. These guys are secular. And even the ones who had been religious before the war. Right. And again, this is pretty common. By the end of the Holocaust, they don't believe anymore. That's also not the universe, but fairly common. Yeah. So they're not... They don't really care that they're not supposed to seek vengeance. Yes. Right. One of them credits this to the power driven into us by Hitler. Right. That's one of the lines that you hear from one of these guys in this meeting. Is that like Hitler has like driven into us the power to commit vengeance by the crimes that he committed against our people. As the meeting wore on, Covener laid out his plans for a quote, unique operation of organized vengeance. Jews, including Covener and his men, had already carried out numerous assassinations of German leaders and collaborators. But this was not enough. The Holocaust was not purely an act of the Nazi military or a bunch of party functionaries. The normal people of Germany had cheered the slaughter on. They had demanded it. Bit by bit, Covener talked himself and the other survivors into a new idea. He described it as quote, to pay the Germans back in a way that only the survivors of such a massacre can. An idea which the man on the omnibus to use a figure of speech could only consider deranged. But I will not claim that our thinking was far from deranged in those days. Maybe worse than deranged. A terrifying idea made holy from despair and carrying a sort of suicide within it. A mental inferno, an eye for an eye. In other words, wiping out six million Germans. That's the plan that they land on is we're going to kill six million of them. One for one, you know, or close to it. Yeah. That's bad. I'm just going to go ahead. That is bad. Beyond record as saying that that's bad. Individuals can be culpable of crimes, but people are not culpable of crimes by where they live. They are not. And I will say obviously it's bad to plan to kill six million civilians. Don't think we need to be labor that point. But you also it is not illogical. Yeah. No, no. It's it's where standing where they are. And I think the way that they would have defended it then because Coviner later, that quote comes from him later. He's like, yeah, we were deranged. We were crazy. Right. Yeah. But having that attitude then, you're looking at the slaughter continuing and you're looking at like, yeah, he's not wrong. Regular Germans are complicit in the Holocaust. Every single person who stayed in and was a part of that nation at war has a degree of complicity in the Holocaust. That is undeniable as a historical fact. But yeah, the and so his his his attitude is if they get away with it, other people will keep trying and maybe they'll try again. The only way to make it clear that you can't do this, right? That you can't do what the jerk that you can't do genocide as a nation is if a nation is wiped out for doing it, right? That's his that's his attitude. And that is the attitude of a genocide survivor. And it is, um, I will I'll say this, um, this is another thing where there's this conversation we have about history. And it's usually by like the worst people in the world where they're like, well, you have to judge people by the standards of the time. And they usually mean that by it wasn't bad to own slaves. Right. Right. Right. Which it was. And there were a lot of people the time I knew it was bad. Where I actually think it's that's an interesting conversation. Have a situations like this. Because I I cannot personally find my in an in-be-too-moraly judge a person in Coffiners position for wanting to kill six million Germans. It's wrong, but I can't judge it. Right. Because who wouldn't think that right in this time? It kind of probably depends on how far along in these plans he gets to be honest. Like, yeah. God, that's such an interesting question of culpability, right? Because okay. In the immediate aftermath, right? You're like, you know, the sort of temporary insanity as a way of understanding culpability makes a lot of sense. Um, and but then like sitting down and and planning something like, I don't know, is it interesting to me? I again, I'm not. This is not me trying to like sit and be like, well, I would have done it different. I don't know. No, fuck I wouldn't have done. Of course. I'm going to tell you right now, I suspect had I been in his position, I would have agreed with his thinking and supported it. Yeah. Like I'm not. Yeah. That's not good. I'm not like proud of that. I just like, yeah, man. If everyone I loved went up in a fucking smoke stack and all these people just got to keep having a country, right? I would probably support some terrible things. Right. No, totally. And it's kind of it's so interesting too. Because it's when you're blaming the nation of Germany and and it's people as constitute it, it's sort of this interestingly like fundamentally nationalist kind of idea that like the people are their nation. Right. And that's but and that is the attitude that the Germans had applied to. Absolutely. That's kind of what I've identified. Yeah, yeah, totally. No, yeah. Um, and so part of what they're saying is like, all right, mother fuckers turn about as fair god damn play. Right. And it's the like, okay, you killed. Yeah. You killed my husband. So now I'm going to kill your husband. It's like, no, yes. This is this is like you killed my husband. I kill you. That's legit. But again, whatever, talking about what it also leads to probably, you know, this is why in Rojava, when we talk about this a lot in the women's war podcast, so much of the justice system that they have built is based around ending reprisals is based around someone to kill someone. We have to bring the families together and get the families of the victims to agree to a situation by which the punishment on the person who committed the murder is severe, but the families are not locked into a cycle of vengeance. Right. Because that that's what's been destroying us and it will destroy us if we let it, right? Absolutely. And they're right to do that. And this is like again, killing six million Germans is insane. Yeah. Um, it's just it's an insanity that I cannot moral like there's no moral judgment here when I say that. Right. These these are as Coffin said, they are deranged and they are embarking on a deranged plan. And so to the extent that what they're doing is evil here, I again, I place this evil at the Nazis feet. Yeah, that's fair. Yeah. Coffinor just wanted to be a poet farmer. Yeah. Right? No, totally. You didn't want to be doing this. You know, um, so, you know, again, I if you're I think the basic level like the basic moral question here is illustrated well as as most moral questions are in the movie Rambo first blood. Right. Uh huh. They drew first blood, you know, I haven't seen that so long. It's it's pretty based. Yeah. I remember that. I remember liking it. Um, yeah. Okay. Okay. So so how far along do they get in this terrible plan? I'm I'm really curious to find out how he I'm curious because he obviously later was like just kidding. That wasn't the best plan. You know, not entirely Margaret. We will talk about that more too. Yeah. It's time to it's time to move on. So before we get into what he does and how he tries, I do want to make the point that he is completely right when he says that the ally justice was not sufficient. Yeah. And to make make it clear how insufficient it was, I want to read a quote from an article in the Guardian by Jonathan Friedland. After the war, Allied officials identified 13.2 million men in Western Germany alone as eligible for automatic arrest because they had been deemed part of the Nazi apparatus fewer than three and a half million of these were charged. And of those two and a half million were released without trial. That left about a million people. And most of them faced no greater sanction than a fine or confiscation of property that they had looted a temporary restriction on future employment or a brief ban from seeking public office. By 1949, four years after the war, only 300 Nazis were in prison from an original one to this of 13 million, just 300 paid anything like a serious price. Because it would have never been a never ending task says David Cessarini, a research professor at Royal Holloway University of London and a leading authority on the Holocaust, he cites the British attempt to convict those responsible for the killing at Belson. The trial took nine months and left the British exhausted. That was just one camp and there were what 70 camps with hundreds of people at each one to say nothing of the Gestapo officers and the men of the Einsatzgruppen pursuing all those responsible for the slaughter of the Jews would have meant trying thousands upon thousands of people and it would have ended in the jailing of almost the entire redope male population of Germany. The Allies put their hands up into spare. And what I will say is, yeah, maybe we should have jailed the entire adult male population Germany, maybe something, certainly more than 300. And again, just murdering six-plied people indiscriminately is not certainly not the right answer. But I don't know if you're going to say what should have happened, I tend to consistently line up with a fuckload more of those people should have been killed. Yeah, I mean, if they were going around being like, sorry, you were in the Nazi army. I don't care that you're private. You're dead now. Yeah, because I think that's just like we're going consequences of a decision you made. We make permanent decisions every day. Yeah, and if you're a permanent decision you made as you join the Nazi military, people fled, people die. People tried to sabotage the Nazi military. There's even mother fuckers like there, there are a couple of cases of like doctors who joined the SS under duress and then saved people in the camps who were like rescued from trials because Jews that they'd saved came forward like no, no, this guy was like actually people did. And if you didn't, I think the thing to I, here's what I'll put out take a leaf out of the Romans book and of those 13.5 million kill one in 10. See, I do love a good decimation, but I think that my issue with this I actually would rather that these the Holocaust survivors who are not part of a who have their own militia go and kill a huge chunk of people who were part of the Nazi party rather than a system in apparatus that like tries and like condemns people to death. It's like, it's a weird anti-death penalty thing for me that is like gets back into this idea that like I don't trust the systemization of murder, right? And so in the any system that could have killed all of the Nazi soldiers later would absolutely do even worse than these other people who are dreaming of revenge. Maybe. Yeah, maybe that's what I'll find. You know what maybe a cool thing to have done. I say cool in a inappropriate sense, but you you take these groups who by the way, these folks like Covner and like the folks I read a quote about earlier, these different Jewish armed organizations, they kill somewhere around 1500 Nazis after the war something and and maybe you just say, hey guys, you have a license to do whatever you want in bringing people to justice for a two-year period or something. Yeah. Yeah, free travel throughout Europe, you know, you you take this on. Yeah. I don't know. I don't know. Certainly what we can all agree on is what was done was woefully insufficient and it's probably part of why there have been so many genocide sets because one of the things that World War II proved is that actually you can wipe out a people and kind of get away with it. Yeah, the only thing you can't do is be a private and bait in Russia. Yes. Oh, no, you will not get away with that. So in July of 1946, Polish residents of Kielsi murdered 42 Jews who'd returned from Nazi camps to their homes. This sparked a mass exodus of survivors from Poland prior to the massacre around 1000 Jews per month had been immigrating from Poland the month after Kielsi, 20,000 fled. It was 30,000 the month after that. And as best as anyone can tell around 2000 Jews were massacred post-war by Polish civilians and similar killings. Yeah. And another one of the questions you can have after this is like all the shit that happened in Palestine after this, how much of it would have happened if people had felt like they didn't have to flee their homes in order to not die. Right. There's a question to be add there too. So, Covener and his comrades, Zaw have decided we're going to kill six million Germans. And they named their new organization, which was about 50 or 60 people. This is not a huge group. They named it Nakam, which is the Hebrew word for revenge. Now, there was a lot going on in the Jewish underground just after the war. And Covener was an integral part of a number of different organizations that were dedicated to smuggling survivors out to Palestine and to providing people with emotional and financial support through building a European survivors network. So people getting out from these different areas, fleeing places that still weren't safe would immediately be met face to face with another Holocaust survivor. So like, like the person who was helping them would like know what they had been through. Yeah. So he has access to a potentially limitless number of volunteers. And by the way, one of the points you kind of incandering Nakam is, well, they don't tell a lot of other people about their plans. Many of the folks that they are working with would have agreed with this. Yeah. And again, because they've all just survived the Holocaust. Not hard to see why. But he is these are in one of the things about this is like having gone through what they've gone through in the war. The 50 or 60 people that he's picked are like perfect insurrectionaries. They are none of them will talk. None of them will break under any kind of torture or question. Yeah, there's nothing left. These are the best underground. Like you yeah, you could not find a more capable group of underground fighters than the people in the Kham. Yeah. And he specifically he hand picks the people in this organization. He will only, we use the term Holocaust survivor very broadly, right? And that applies to people who like, you know, they got beat up in the street by Nazis in 1933 and then they fled the country, right? That's a Holocaust survivor. Right. And I wouldn't I wouldn't take that or somebody who, you know, gets out in 40 and manages to like flee and defrance and then get to England or something right ahead of them. That's a Holocaust survivor. Somebody who hides out in another person's house for the whole war pretends to be a Gentile. Those are Holocaust survivors. Yeah. But they are not the same kind of Holocaust survivors as somebody who sees his home burnt to the ground and fights in the woods for three years or somebody who is in turn to Auschwitz and watches, you know, a million people die around them. Yeah. There is a difference, right? And Covner will only accept into Nekam, people who have been in the death camps, people who have been partisans and not just even that, they have to have taken a form of individual personal sabotage against the Nazi state while in that situation. Okay. So these are, these are tough people. Yeah. Um, these are, these are some very frightening motherfuckers. Yeah. Covner is so respected and the desire for vengeance is so overwhelming that a lot of the partisans he pick when they picks when they learn about the plan are almost delirious with joy. Yeah. Covner gathers his hand picked partisans with him in a flat and Budapest where they all live communally as they're carrying out the early stages of this operation. And by late 1945, he and his top lieutenants had picked out two plans, plan A and plan B. Plan A is to acquire poison and send it through the water supply and Nuremberg and Munich and discriminately killing the populace of both cities. Mira Verben-Sjebleski, a member of Nekam, told Dina Parat later that she was in 7th heaven when Covner revealed the plan. Another member, Zilla Rosenberg, said Covner's words, shouted inside me in an insane tailspin. Um, they are on board. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I'm going to quote next from a report from Heritz on, on how plan A goes. Joseph Harmot was chosen to be in charge of the activity in Nuremberg, one of the symbols of the Nazi regime. I was grateful to be chosen for this job. He said before his death in 2017, working under him was Willik Shinar, who was hired to work in Nuremberg's center for distilling drinking water. Parat discovered that he was able to obtain the plans of the water system, and in the end, even gained control of the main valve. While the group members were preparing to carry out the mission, Covner was supposed to provide them with the poison. But he lingered too long during his visit to Palestine. Only in December 1945 did he return to Europe, disguised as a soldier returning from leave. According to his testimony, before boarding the ship, friends in the Haganah, the pre-state military force, provided him with poison packaged in tubes of toothpaste and shaving cream. However, on his way back, he was detained by the British on the deck, after his forged papers aroused suspicion. The poison, which he was holding, was tossed into the sea. So number one, there's a lot of debate about whether or not the Haganah tipped off the British, right? That like some of them handed over the poison, and then when others found out, they were like, this is a question, let this go down. But the poison winds up in the ocean. And it is impossible to say how many people might have been killed if Covner had gotten the poison to Europe. They have control over the main water valve in Nuremberg. It's six million is probably not a realistic estimate, but they could have killed tens of thousands. Potentially when you consider how chaotic things were at the end of the war, the lack of basic medical infrastructure, the lack of functioning hospitals, it's not unreasonable to think they might have been able to kill hundreds of thousands, if they had if they had gone and actually been able to try this. But they're not able to. Covner spends months in custody and kind of afterwards he is a known man to the allies. And so he can no longer participate in Nacombs plans. He eventually settles on a kibbutz in Palestine. What if he, what if he is able to settle into a quiet life of supporting advertisers? Oh, Jesus Christ. That was bleak Margaret. Thanks. Wow. Thanks. Really just trying to show a different side of myself for this. It's like this is this is not my show. Here's here's some ads, I guess. Robert Evans here. It's been more than six months since I got LASIK and I am still seeing better than 2020. I can't tell you how much this has changed my life for the better. I was recently out for three days over landing in the woods camping and I didn't have to wake up, you know, with my eyes not working every morning and pop in contacts. I didn't have to keep track of glasses. Didn't have to deal with glasses in the rain. Everything is just so much easier since I got LASIK. And of course the whole process was easy. The exam was simple and convenient treatment. Just took minutes. 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And many more seconds to get more out of your holiday season. DuraSel, unlike this ad, engineered for more. So, Covner is kind of out of the picture of Nikom. He doesn't fight and you kind of get the feeling that he starts to like pull himself out of the tail, spin a little bit. He invites a bunch of members of the group over to his kibbutts. They visit some of them start to give up at this point. But others decide to carry out a plan B. Okay. Did they have the plan B the whole time? Or is this? Oh yes. Yes. And the allies, the ally, and they're working towards plan B at the same time as they're working towards planning. And always have a backup plan. Yeah. And this is actually cooler. Indiscriminately poising the water supply of a large city is a bad thing to do. Yes. This is kind of rad. Okay. So the allied authorities had interned former SS members at detention camps outside of Nuremberg and Doc Owl. One of the Avengers, Leib Kiddistel, was hired to work at the bakery that supplied bread to prisoners and guards at the Nuremberg camp. According to Dina Parat, quote, he first thought to inject poison into the bags of flour in the warehouse later into the dough mixers. And finally, he reached the conclusion after consulting with the group members that the poison should be spread on the bottom of the loaves. Okay. So, distal spends months rising through the ranks at the bakery staff until he gets a bunch of charge. Yeah. Rising. Yeah. Like bread. Until he's put in charge of the bread warehouse. And he learns every aspect of the distribution system. This included the fact that German captives were given cheap black bread while the American guards were given more expensive white bread. This was a big break for Nekom. They were willing to mass murder Germans. But they like, again, the Americans have just liberated Nazi Germany. They don't want to murder those guys. They would prefer feel kind of bad about that. Yeah. No, I should note that there's also some quotes you'll get, some really chilling quotes. Like, there's one member of Nekom was like, if Coffinor had wanted us to murder a Jew for some reason to carry out our plans, we would have done it. Like, we would have done anything he told us to. Yeah. If you're willing to poison in discriminator city, you're going to kill a lot of Jews. Yeah. Yeah. That is also probably well, actually given the realities of the Holocaust, probably not at that. Yeah. Okay. Fair. I don't actually know enough about when people started getting these into Germany and started living in those cities again. Yeah. So yeah, he is, so this is the plan. They, and again, this shows like what competent, because they have, they have in the space of a few months gotten people at high levels in the water distribution network. Yeah. Like in like managing the waters, like the fresh water system and fucking the city of Nuremberg. Yeah. And they've gotten other people managing like the bread distribution at this, at like prisoner of war camps were huge numbers of SS prisoners are being held. Yeah. And they do this all simultaneously. And distal and his chunk of Nekom find another source of poison, and they smuggle it into the warehouse under a raincoat. Several members of Nekom succeed in hiding themselves in bread baskets where they wait for the night to fall. When the other workers had left for the day and locked up, they all left hiding and start painting poison using paint brushes over loaves of bread. This was a static work for them. And when they'd covered 3000 loaves, they paused to kiss each other. It's arsenic that they're putting on this bread. Okay. Two days later, Germans at the camp started to fall sick more than 2,200 former SS men caught stomach poisoning. And it is unclear if any die records aren't great at this time. Some reports you'll hear is that it was like close to 1,000. Several hundred prisoners died eventually as a result of this. Fuck yeah. Dina Pirat claims they failed to kill anyone. I don't really know who's right here. Dina kind of has a vested interest in making it seem like they didn't kill people. Okay. I don't actually know what went down. But they certainly get a lot of SS men sick. And you know what? I don't care what happens. No, I don't care at all. And like I don't care at all. Even if they're prisoners, I don't care. Well, I mean, especially I think it is beautiful that it is not their prison. They're not their guards that are killing them. It's their former victims. Like their former victims. Fuck yeah. That's fine. Yeah. That's completely fine. No notes on this one. Yeah. Except that the poisoning is apparently every time I've read about people like trying to do mass poisoning and history, it usually fails really terribly because it all and nearly always. Yeah. It's actually very hard to do. And it's hard to say like with the water plan if worked, they had a lot of poison. It was supposed to be a pretty good quality. It's also kind of worth noting part of why they choose to poison the water is that for hundreds of years in Europe, like every time water would go bad in a well or something, the juice would get blamed and murdered. And so they were kind of being like, we're going to do it this time. Right. Like that was like part of the thinking. Um, that so tracks that that tracks so well to just be like, yeah, call us monsters for a thousand fucking years. Literally a thousand years. Yeah, we'll do it now, motherfuckers. I get it. Yeah. Bad thing to do, but to get it. Yeah. Um, so the allies never caught Nacom for the poisoning, but when they analyzed the arsenic used, they concluded that they could have killed about 60,000 people with it. It's suspected the reason why that doesn't work that well is that they spread it too thin on the bread. Um, and this is something that members of the group would regret for the rest of their lives. Um, yeah, I get it guys. I get it. So not long after another group of Nacom insurgents headed by a hero of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, attempted to carry out the same plan and the dock out camp. The plan was canceled at the last minute for unknown reasons. And it's kind of at this point that Nacom starts to fall apart. The mania of the wars, the derangement as Covenant would later claim has faded. And now people are starting to look at the possibility of a future, right? Um, there are a few men who stayed loyal to the mission after a visit to Covenant Palestine. A small group returned to Europe to try again. Their efforts were constantly stymied by the new federal Republic of Germany. And many of them were arrested by after turning to crime to finance their efforts. They all eventually immigrated back to Palestine, where many turned the rage and hate that they'd failed to spend upon the Germans towards a new enemy. So a bunch of the guys who are in the calm become senior officers in the Israeli defense establishment. One becomes chief of the IDF at one point. A couple one or two become generals. A number of Nacom fighters and affiliates and other Jewish militant organizations start the Mossad. And yeah, a lot of very nasty things result from that. They do kill like about 1500 Nazis too, which is fine. Yeah. But you know, the Nakba happens. There's a, you know, the establishment over time of an apartheid state, the displacement of a large number of people. A lot of pretty, pretty ugly stuff. And a lot of it is done by people who had been in this group and these other groups. Yeah. Now, Covenant, because he's tried to poison six million people, has kind of ruined any chance of a political career for himself. But he remains a prominent and a popular poet and inspirational war leader. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, he was made a propaganda officer. And he used to skill at poetry to try and encourage his soldiers to carry out violence without sympathy or guilt. He issued a series of battle misiffs, one of which was published after the surrender of an Israeli unit during the Battle of Nitsanem. Now, these Israeli soldiers had been hopelessly outnumbered and cut off by the Egyptians. They're kind of surrounded and they surrender to the Egyptian army. Covenant is furious about this. He sees them as traitors. He calls them traitors. And he publishes a poem titled Failure, just days after the fighting. And I'm going to quote now from a study by Michael Arbel. Denouncing them for not fighting to their last drop of blood and for not defending every inch of territory with their lives. By failing to do so, Covenant claimed the surrendering fighters demonstrated to the Egyptian enemy that it was possible to vanquish the defenses of a Jewish settlement with a matter of hours and undermine the conviction essential to the morale of every Israeli fighter that the fewer capable of defeating the mini. Toward the conclusion of the misive, Covenant vehemently called out better to fall in the trenches of home than to surrender to a murderous invader to surrender so long as the body still lives. And the last remaining bullet continues to breathe its magazine in its magazine. Tis a disgrace to emerge to the invaders' captivity. Tis a disgrace and a death. Now, this caused outrage at the time because he's calling these soldiers who have fought and surrendered like cowards. Yeah. And this is compounded in 1949 because Covenant is wrong. He's saying like the Egyptians who murderous monsters, how dare you surrender to them and the Egyptians treat these Israeli soldiers as lawful prisoners of war. Yeah. And because they're going to return them to their home because it's a war. And there's rules. Yeah. And they return them home after works. Yeah. So these guys don't die. Yeah. That's because they surrender, which is why it's it's good to respect the rules of war. Which he clearly no longer cared about as soon as he exactly exactly again. We all understand how he came to stop caring about them. But yeah, every enemy is the Nazis, right? That's not just him. That's a lot of these these people, right? Even though like, you know, the Egyptians are not the Nazis. Yeah. Not that there's not ugly stuff that happens in these wars that are going to follow, but it's not the same. And these returning soldiers attack Covenant for calling them treasonous. And a later investigation by the IDF concludes that the soldiers had acted appropriately. Covenant had simply lost all sense of proportion. He remained an influential poet for the rest of his life, though, winning the Israel Prize for poetry in 1970 and dying in 1987 from laryngeal cancer because he is just I when I tell you this guy was a chain smoker, you have to think about like what it means to be a Holocaust survivor in a chain smoker. Yeah. This guy is this guy is consuming cigarettes at like the nation state level. Yeah. I mean, a cigarette is a is a symbol of no future, right? Yeah. Exactly. That is that is it's charm and its poison is that is a symbol of I'm doing something because I don't care what happens to me. Yeah. There may be no people alive who smoke the way this man was capable of smoking. We've lost the capacity for smoking like that in the species. So other members of Nikon though remain alive into the 21st century and they don't really no one really talks about what has this is kind of like not very well known at all. I mean, it's still not that well known, but this is really not known at all until kind of the 1980s when some of the when the people who survived start to be like, oh, we're not going to live forever. We should probably like talk about what happened. Yeah. Right. And so that's the point at which historians and sociologists start to interview them on their about how their feelings on revenge had evolved throughout the decades. And by the way, there's going to be if you start researching this, you may find some of the books you read by some of these survivors. There are points that I have laid out here that they will disagree on. There's several books by survivors and then Dina Pirat has written two books and she's kind of the academic who has talked to the most of these guys. There's points of disagreement. There's things we don't know because again, everybody like the fog of war everybody's like older like they were kind of crazy at the time. You know, you're right. There's points that you're not going to get the exact history on because nobody knows it, right? There's disagreement from people who were all there. Yeah. You know, that's just the reality of historiography. Yeah. So, but there are interviews with a number of these guys. So we have kind of information from historians and sociologists about how these people's feelings on revenge had evolved through the decades. And as far as I can tell, they didn't change their minds. Okay. Bollack Benyakov, who led in a calm after 1947, said that he could not have looked himself in the mirror if he hadn't tried to get revenge. He still regretted that it had failed. Most of his comrades seemed to agree feeling that the Germans had deserved it and ruined that they had not succeeded in clearing carrying out plan A. When one survivor was asked how she could possibly have made peace with the mass poisoning of babies, children and other civilians, she answered, if you had been there with me at the end of the war, you wouldn't talk that way. That's completely possible. Yep. Again, doesn't make them right. But it's no, no, no, it's just like, yeah, you can't expect people like it's obviously not everyone who lived through that. In fact, most people who lived through that didn't feel entirely the same way. Yeah. But a lot of them did. Yeah. And that's valid. Yeah. I'm glad they did not succeed in poisoning six million people to death and discriminately. Right. But a get it. And it's the, you know, there's a really good song about this whole story by a, he's a German Jewish musician. The band is, one sec, I'm going to pull this up right now. It's actually how I heard about this story first and then I wound up reading the books. And it's a pretty, pretty dope song. It's called six million Germans by Daniel Khan and the painted bird. And there's, um, there's a couple of lines in there because it kind of ends with him talking about how these guys all became part of the Israeli military establishment of the, of the birth of this apartheid state of all those violence that gets done in the wake of that. And there's a line he has in there, conventions, sat or one second, I'm going to, may pull up lyrics, I don't get this wrong. They put aside their rage and hate and worked to build a Jewish state with Jewish towns and Jewish farms and Jewish guns and nuclear arms. Now, conventions put upon the shelf be taken out later on someone else. Be careful how you read this tale, less your own prejudice prevail. Look around the world today and consider the role that vengeance plays for history has its unpaid debts. And is it better if we forget? It's a good song. I mean, it's like, it's so hard because if you come with almost any other story, it'd be so easy for me to be like, well, here's how I feel about vengeance and here's how I feel about justice and, you know, um, and, and you look at this and you're just like, yes, it's fucking messy. Shit is fucking messy. Um, this is not, you know, as uplifting maybe as some of our other previous episodes. I would not feel confident calling these people bastards because I think to some extent, the things they have lived through make it impossible for me to fully morally judge them even for the bad things that they've done. Yeah. That's where I am. You're allowed to feel, however, you want to feel about this stuff. Yeah. But, you know, it's worth thinking about. Yeah. Um, I will say when we're talking about things that the Nazis have done that are evil, obviously all of the killings, all of the millions and millions and tens of millions of deaths are the worst. But one little crime of the Nazis, I will say, is the fact that as I was researching this, I had a literal moment where I thought, well, shit, would the world have been better if they'd done it if they'd killed six million years. Right. And that was the lesson everyone else who thought about genocide for the rest of history took out from it. Right? Yeah. And the answer is no, by the way, but the fact that I, and I'm going to guess most of you are going to spend some time actually thinking about that is another crime we should lay at the Nazis face. Yeah. No, that's such a fucking good point. I had a moment where I was like, what would have happened if they'd done that? And it's like, it doesn't matter because spreading the idea that killing millions of people and discriminately can ever possibly, but there's ever a good way to do that. Right. Yeah. And and I was interesting because if it's like, if they had dismant, whatever, there's a million hypotheticals, but the idea that Germany should cease to exist, which I also don't, whatever, right? Whatever. I don't think any country. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. But yeah. But like, you know, if like Germany does so bad that it doesn't get to exist anymore, it's so, and then it, I would love to know more, you know, because it's like, as far as I understand, it's explained to me by an Italian friend, the Italian fascist system, like, stayed kind of intact and just changed its name in a lot of ways, or at least a lot of the individual functionaries continued and like, I don't know. And versus Germany that seemed to like, Germany presents itself as having had a national reckoning. Well, I mean, certainly I will say of the Axis powers they have done the best job of that. That is probably very fair to say, you do get these weird moments. I was visiting Saxonhausen, which is, it's not a death camp, but it's a concentration camp. So obviously a lot of people died there that its main goal was not killing that had started as a place for political prisoners and continued that way under the Nazis. It's a very bleak place, although it is the museum that the Germans have set up there is very, very good. If you are ever near Berlin, you have a chance to see Saxonhausen. I think you kind of owe it to yourself to see it. I went during the death of winter, so it was snowy, and there was this moment where you're like walking through it. You know, we're all bundled up in three layers, and it's just frigid, and then you walk in to one of the indoor areas. And the first thing you see is one of the uniforms, the winter uniforms that the inmates wore, and it's very affecting. But as we're like coming into it, we have this great tourist guide who's this Brit who has been living in Germany for like 30, 40 years, and he's walking us through and he points out this building outside of kind of the museum area. And he's like, back when the camp was active, that's actually the administrative building. That's where they did all of the sort of administrative tasks for it. And I was like, well, what is it now? And he said, oh, well, it's like a training facility for the Berlin police. Right. Totally. Yep. Great. So, you know, there's critiques I might have. But yeah, I mean, generally speaking, yes, the Germans have done of the Axis powers the best job of reckoning with those crimes. And I think probably it also would be fair to say a better job of reckoning in those crimes than like the United States has done with slavery. Totally. But also like they're repeated. We just had another group of like right wing Germans arrested for trying to overthrow the government and storm the Reichstag. So, you know, there's there's there's issues to work. Right. I mean, like, there's there's not sees everywhere now. Like that's another there are not sees everywhere. I will say I am not convinced. I don't think I think it's probably fair to say there's not like more not sees as a percentage of the population in Germany now than a number of other places. So totally. I don't know. I don't know. Like this is not a thing where I can say and here's the moral lesson to take out of this story. This is just some stuff that happened that you you I think you should think about. Yep. Yep. Another good episode. Anyway, Merry Christmas. Messy. Yeah. Happy holidays. Oh, fuck. Great. Great. Yeah. We're going to say you would a plug. Well, if you like light, hardhead violence, god damn it. I have a book coming out called Escape from Insel Island, which asks the very important question of what if all of the men who felt like they were owed a woman by the government got tricked into moving to an island where they were stuck. And it's coming out on February 1st. You can pre-order it. You can get it through the publisher strangers in the tangled wilderness where if you're listening to this in the future, you can get it wherever books are sold. And I have a podcast called Cool People Did Cool Stuff. And I have another podcast called Live Like the World Is Dying, which is about community and individual preparedness. Yes. That's what I have to plug. Sophie, do you have anything to plug? Yeah. Behind the bastards doing a live show at SF Sketch Fest in January on the 20th. Mm-hmm. We have lots of good podcast at Cools on Media and all the things. Yeah. Maybe I'll find an even more fucked up story to talk about in a room full of people where you all have to stare at each other and think about the ethics of violent responses to genocide. Yay. Yay. No, no, it'll probably be about some guy who sold children poison or whatever. Yeah. It'll be fine. It'll be funny itself. Yeah. Well. Here we go. Happy Christmas. Bye bye. Yeah. Talk about Nakam to your family at the dinner table this year during the holiday. Yeah. Behind the bastards is a production of Cool Zone Media. For more from Cool Zone Media, visit our website or check us out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. This is John Thomas with 2023 will bring the AI revolution. Five tech companies are booming thanks to enormous advancements in robotics. Over 150,000 jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence and wise investors are cashing in right now. Go to and download my free report in Flation 2 Innovation. 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