An article from the U.K. discussed recently released papers that shed light on the damage done to the British economy by the Operation Bernhard counterfeit notes produced for the Nazis by concentration camp prisoners.
Nazi forgers succeeded in flooding Europe with fake British bank notes, "destroying" confidence in the UK currency, according to secret MI5 files made public today.
Papers released by the National Archives show that by the end of the Second World War the forgeries were so rife, British bank notes would not be accepted on the Continent.
The Germans first began forging the notes in 1940 in preparation for Hitler's planned invasion of Britain, according to a report drawn up in 1945 by Sir Edward Reid of MI5's section B1B.
According to a captured German agent, the plan was to scatter the notes over the country from the air "in order to create loss of confidence and general confusion".
Although Hitler was forced to abandon his invasion plan after the failure of the Luftwaffe to gain aerial supremacy in the Battle of Britain, the German forgers carried on perfecting their techniques to devastating effect.
"What they subsequently produced was a type of forgery so skilful that it is impossible for anyone other than a specially trained expert to detect the difference between them and genuine notes," Reid reported.
Initially the fake notes were circulated in neutral Portugal and Spain with the double objective of raising money for the Nazi cause and creating a lack of confidence in the British currency. Subsequently they began turning up as Egypt as well.
By 1944, the British authorities were so alarmed at the impact they were having, they informed the Spanish government who seized £20,000 in British notes from German agents - all of which turned out to be forged.
To read the complete article, see:
Secret MI5 Papers Reveal Nazi Plot To Flood UK With Fake Bank Notes
To read an earlier E-Sylum article, see:
OPERATION BERNHARD COUNTERFEITER ADOLF BURGER INTERVIEWED
Wayne Homren, Editor
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