One of the most remarkable episodes of WWII was the Nazi attempt to forge currency and trigger the economic collapse of the Allies. The counterfeit operation was one of the largest the world has ever seen and lead to the postwar reissue of sterling.At the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin, 144 Jewish prisoners of 13 different nationalities were forced to work on producing counterfeit pound and dollar notes worth billions. The plan was known as Operation Bernhard.The forgeries that were produced were virtually undetectable: only the most senior forgers were able to spot fakes, where even the Bank of England failed to do so.In this extraordinary memoir, the sole surviving Czech counterfeiter Adolf Burger describes his wartime experiences, including the murder of his wife Gizela in Auschwtiz and his time as a prisoner in four concentration camps. He was working as a counterfeiter until his liberation from the Ebensee camp on 5 May 1945 and was present at Toplitzee lake on July 5th 2000 when thousands of forged notes were brought to the surface.Supported by hitherto unseen documentation and photographs that Burger took of his fellow prisoners after the war, this is a shocking account which sheds fresh light on the calculated barbarity of the Nazi war machine.
Adolf Burger was a consultant for the film The Counterfeiters, winner of the 2008 Foreign Language Oscar. His memoir has been published in Hungarian, Persian, Japanese and Czech. He continues to travel to speak about his wartime experiences.Adolf Burger author of 'The Devils Workshop' was interviewed by The Times' Miriam Craig during his visit to England this weekend. Mr Burger was attending a special screening of the film 'The Counterfeiters' - based on the real life events detailed in his book, he also attended several interviews during his visit. To read The Times' interview click here.