The Daily Mail published an article revealing the existence of an extraordinary set of portrait sketches of the Jewish concentration camp inmates forced by the Nazis to create counterfeits of U.S. and U.K. currency in WWII's "Operation Bernhard".
For decades his moving portraits of Jewish concentration camp prisoners who laboured alongside him have rarely been seen.
Felix Cytrin drew the men as they worked together on a top secret Nazi counterfeiting operation during World War 11.
But now his collection of 43 drawings will be seen by the public for the first time and the story of how he survived the Holocaust can be told.
The sketches - most dated 1944 and 1945 and drawn on paper in pencil, charcoal and chalk - were donated by his heirs to Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial and museum at a special ceremony yesterday in New York.
They are among the few images that exist of the young men who worked on the infamous Nazi operation to produce fake money, fictionalised in the Oscar-winning film The Counterfeiters.
The Nazis hand-picked from death camps a group of about 140 mostly skilled craftsmen at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp north of Berlin around 1942,
They gave them the dubious choice of creating bogus money for the Nazis or almost certain death. They were isolated from the rest of the camp in barracks known as Block 19, surrounded by barbed wire.
Initially, the goal of Operation Bernhard (named after its lead SS officer, Bernhard Krueger) was to counterfeit millions of British pounds that could be air-dropped on England to undermine the Allied country's economy.
Cytrin was born in what is now Warsaw, Poland, in 1894, and his name appears on a list of Operation Bernhard inmates recovered from a lake in Austria, where the Nazis dumped documents about the plot.
A toolmaker and engraver, Cytrin was working in Leipzig when he was recruited and made chief of the engraving section, a critical job for the men working and living in Block 19.
For many years after he had moved to the U.S. his family said he was suspicious of being watched by the government. Army intelligence documents about him remain classified at the National Archives in Maryland.
At a special handover ceremony yesterday, Marcia Friday, who was then married to Cytrin's grandson, said that about 25 years ago she discovered the disintegrating portraits in a cardboard portfolio at the family home in Pennsylvania.
To read the complete article, see:
Unveiled: The portraits sketched by the Holocaust survivor forced to run a secret counterfeit money operation for the Nazis
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster