The Nisko Chapter
72. The first transports dealt with by the Accused were
connected with the Nisko Plan, which he himself devised as
far back as September 1939, together with Stahlecker, and he
supervised its implementation in person. Nisko is situated
on the San river in the Radom district of what was the area
of the Generalgouvernement, not far from the border. The
idea of the Accused, according to his Statement, was to set
up a kind of Jewish state in the Radom district, after the
evacuation of the Poles from that area. But from the very
beginning his intention was not a permanent settlement, but
a temporary concentration of the Jews, prior to their
deportation to another place. This is what he notes in
exhibit T/43, p. 4:
“I said: Give me a sufficient subsistence area; then it
will be possible to set up an autonomous Jewish pre-
state (Judenvorstaat) from which gradual emigration
could be carried out.”
and in T/37, p. 124:
“We said to ourselves…this can be a solution for some
time, at least for some time, so that meanwhile there
will be no fire under our fingernails.”
It is, therefore, likely that this concentration of Jews
near the demarcation line was planned as the first step
towards their expulsion across the lines, in accordance with
the Fuehrer’s order, announced by Heydrich on 21 September
1939, as mentioned above.
Heydrich supported this plan, and in October 1939 the
Accused began to carry it out. The first transport of 1,000
men was sent from Moravska Ostrava to Nisko, as a sort of
pioneer corps intended to prepare the place for those who
would follow them. The witnesses Max Burger (Session 19,
Vol. I, p. 299) and Dr. Hugo Kratky (Session 20, Vol. I, p.
309) were with this transport, and from their description it
transpires clearly that the talk about a grandiose plan is
far removed from the grim reality – the Accused acted with
complete disregard for the health and life of the deportees.
They relate that people were brought to a hill open to the
four winds, where they were addressed as follows by an
officer of the SS:
“Some seven to eight kilometres from here, across the
San, the Fuehrer has promised the Jews a new homeland.
There are no dwellings and no houses; if you carry out
the construction you will have a roof over your heads.
There is no water, the wells all around carry disease;
cholera, dysentery and typhoid are rampant. If you
start digging and find water, then you will have
From the testimonies of Burger and Dr. Kratky, there is much
reason to believe that the speaker was the Accused himself.
In any case, even if the speaker was someone else, this was
the spirit that reigned there.
About a quarter of the number of those transported were
expelled on the following morning towards the East, on foot,
with the warning that anyone returning would be shot. Dr.
Kratky was one of those. We heard from him about the misery
which he and his friends suffered, as they walked a distance
of 120-150 kilometres through the forests, until they
reached Lublin, and thence still further towards the East.
Of the fate which befell those who remained in the camp, we
heard from Mr. Burger (Session 19, Vol. I, p. 300). After
the camp was set up, additional transports of Jews arrived
from Moravska Ostrava and from Vienna. Some of them were
not even permitted to enter the camp, but were driven on
immediately, without the luggage they had brought with them.
A transport of one thousand extremely old Jews arrived. The
cold was unusual that winter and touched 40 degrees below
In the spring of 1940, the whole plan was liquidated,
because of the objections of Hans Frank, the Governor
General of Poland (Generalgouvernement area), who did not
want additional Jews in his territory. The survivors from
amongst the deportees were returned to where they had come
from. Of the one thousand people who started off with
Burger and Dr. Kratky from Moravska Ostrava, three hundred
returned there. The others were expelled or escaped across
the border, into Russian territory, and most of them were
caught there by the Germans after the German-Russian war
broke out. The Accused ordered that those who returned to
Vienna from Nisko should be registered in the police records
as “returning from vocational training” (Umschichtung)
(T/801). The responsibility for the entire operation,
including all the human suffering which went with it, falls
directly upon the Accused.