An E-Sylum reader noted the following article from an Australian newspaper interviewing 91-year-old Adolf Burger, a survivor of the WWII Nazi concentration camp counterfeiting scheme known as Operation Bernhard. As E-Sylum readers know, the story was made into the Academy Award winning 2007 film, The Counterfeiters. Jewish banknote expert Adolf Burger was part of the team that forged 135 million GBP for Adolf Hitler. The then 27-year-old Jewish banknote expert has told how his team of counterfeiters were "dead men on holiday" as they helped plot the financial ruin of Britain.
In the photo, Burger's concentration camp inmate number can be seen tattooed on his left arm. -Editor
The story was made into a feature film, The Counterfeiters, by Vienna's Stefan Ruzowitzky and won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Burger, now 91, recently came face to face with some of his handiwork at the Bank of England where he revealed that he and his fellow forgers had tried to mark the notes so British banks could identify them as forgeries.
But the quietly spoken counterfeiter knew that he and his fellow forgers were always just one small slip away from a brutal execution by the SS.
Sitting in his house in the suburbs of Prague, Slovakian-born Burger is more than happy to share his life's story.
The Holocaust survivor still travels to schools, universities and military centres to talk about his wartime employment with the enemy.
"We were dead men on holiday," he said, always aware that the S.S. could turn on him and his comrades at a moment and execute them all.
"I want people to know that the Nazis weren't just murderers but criminals in other ways too. Nobody knew that because the English barred any investigation into the whole affair at the Nuremberg Trials," he revealed.
Burger took only 1,500 GBP for his advice to the movie producers, saying: "I am 90-years-old. What the hell do I need money for?! It is much more important that the story gets told."
"My wife was gassed there and I was deliberately infected with Typhus as part of a medical experiment, but this is irrelevant - it is my personal tragedy," revealed Burger.
And it was only when his special printing skills were discovered that Burger was forced to join the Operation Bernhard forgery scheme.
Burger says some notes were marked in a way that only the forgers could tell.
"After the war when I reported the operation to the British authorities in 1945, bankers came and gave me 250 notes, asking me which ones were forged.
"I held them against the light and said this one is real, this one is not, and so on. About every third note was forged. They didn't believe me, claiming it was impossible to tell," he explained.
But because 1940s banknotes were so large, people often kept them together with a safety pin.
In the workshop several people were occupied with making the notes look used, and pierced the notes with a pin.
However, the counterfeiters pierced the notes right through the Queen's face on the notes – "nothing a loyal English citizen would ever do," laughed Burger.
The Bank of England was so embarrassed by the scam that authorities barred any investigation into the whole affair at the Nuremberg Trials of German war criminals.
Above is an Operation Bernhard note recovered by divers from the Austrian lake Toplitzsee in 1959. -Editor
To read the complete article, see: Nazi's counterfeiter's true story (www.thedaily.com.au/news/2009/mar/03/adolf-burger
Wayne Homren, Editor
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