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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 40, October 7, 2007, Article 16

OPERATION BERNHARD FILM RELEASE: THE COUNTERFEITERS

[Earlier this year we reviewed "Krueger's Men: The Secret
Nazi Counterfeit Plot and the Prisoners of Block 19" and
noted plans for an upcoming film focusing on Adolf Burger,
one of the WWII concentration camp inmates forced by the
Nazis to counterfeit British banknotes in Operation Bernhard.
Newspapers in Britain are reporting on the film's opening.
Below are excerpts from one of the articles.  -Editor]

"Adolf Burger is a fighter. He spent his youth battling
against the Nazis, and even now, at 90, he is still engaged
in active struggle against the poisonous ideology that
killed his wife, parents and millions of European Jews.

"Burger has flown into Britain to promote The Counterfeiters,
a gripping and moving Oscar contender by the Austrian director
Stefan Ruzowitzky. The film is partly based on Burger’s
wartime memoir The Devil’s Workshop, which details the
biggest currency forgery scheme in history. It’s a story
so incredible that it can only be true.

"The Slovakian-born Burger was a communist and anti-Nazi
activist, forging identity papers and baptism certificates
to save the lives of fellow Jews. He and his 21-year-old
wife Gisela were deported to Auschwitz in August 1942. She
was murdered soon afterwards.

"Burger was spared a similar fate only when Major Bernhard
Krüger, a textile engineer, plucked him from Auschwitz to
work on a top-secret Nazi project. He was moved to a specially
isolated barracks in Sachsenhausen concentration camp near
Berlin as part of Operation Bernhard, an audacious scheme
to counterfeit millions of pounds to undermine the British
economy. The 142 special inmates were isolated from regular
prisoners in superior conditions, but death was ever present.
They printed around £134 million, equivalent to over £3
billion today.

"According to Lawrence Malkin, in his book Krüger’s Men,
the counterfeiting operation was initially opposed by
several high-ranking Nazis. Even Goebbels called it
“grotesque”. But the scheme was eventually approved and,
after a few false starts, began in earnest in 1942.

"What happened after The Counterfeiters ends almost
deserves a film of its own. Retreating German forces
dumped most of the fake currency in Lake Toplitz in
Austria. Several sodden, mouldering crates have since
been recovered. Meanwhile, with so many forgeries
already in circulation, the Bank of England was forced
to withdraw all notes larger than £5 and redesign
the banknotes.

"Burger returned to Czechoslovakia, settled in Prague
and worked as a printer. After experiencing so much
tragedy so young, he appears to have lived a happy life.
“When I was liberated by the Americans I went home very
calmly, never had a bad dream,” he says. “For years I
was silent, I didn’t want to speak about this any more.
It was only when the neo-Nazis started with their lies
about Auschwitz that I began to travel through Germany
and give my speeches, to tell people what happened.”"

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

 DEAD MEN ON VACATION: BOOK AND MOVIE HIGHLIGHT NAZI WWII COUNTERFEITING
 esylum_v10n04a07.html

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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