Museum-quality book features never-before-seen accounts from numismatists, historians, descendants of Holocaust survivors, and the granddaughter of the Nazi who ran “Operation Bernhard”
A new book titled Forging Secrets: Faces and Facts Inside the Nazi Operation Bernhard Scheme will become available to the public at a special event at the Hyatt Regency Chicago O’Hare on Thursday, August 18, 2022. Collectors, students, and researchers of World War II and the Holocaust will be captivated by this unique publication by the Spungen Family Foundation in association with Coin and Currency Institute.
Operation Bernhard was a secret Nazi project during WWII that forced Jewish concentration camp prisoners to forge Bank of England notes. Initially intended to destroy the British economy, the forged notes ended up financing the German side of the war. With their lives hanging by a thread, 140-plus prisoners produced enough fake currency to equal the face value of all reserves in the vaults of the Bank of England–an astounding six or seven billion dollars in today’s money. This sensational true story has been treated by historians, survivors, Hollywood, and mainstream media, but never have all of these elements been combined into one volume.
“We wanted to put a face on money – to show the humanity behind this incredible story for students and future generations who take an interest in the Holocaust and World War II,” said Danny Spungen, Trustee of the Spungen Family Foundation. “This is more than a book. This is an interactive experience in a book where students and collectors can search for and acquire an artifact, witnesses of the Holocaust.”
Contributors to the book include American Numismatic Association Medal of Merit recipients Joseph Boling and C. Frederick Schwan; Auschwitz historian and museum curator Robert Jan van Pelt; Debbie Walter, daughter of Operation Bernhard survivor Hans Walter; Charlotte Krüger, granddaughter of Bernhard Krüger, who ran Operation Bernhard; and Astrid Ley and Agnes Ohm, expert historians from the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum near Berlin.
Collectors will be fascinated by the authoritative chapter by Boling, which shows readers in over 200 diagnostic photos how to distinguish genuine British white notes from fakes produced by the Operation Bernhard prisoners. Boling served as chief editor of the book, along with Danny Spungen and Kiel Majewski, Executive Director of the Spungen Family Foundation. Several other researchers and historians also contributed original content.
The book features over 500 images, including never-before-published sketches of Bernhard prisoners by the artists Peter Edel and Leo Haas, who were themselves prisoners in the forgery operation. Perhaps the most unique feature of the hardcover, linen-wrapped book is a die-cut window in the cover. The window opens up to a museum-quality transparent polyester sleeve stitched into the book and sized precisely to hold an artifact—a counterfeit “Operation Bernhard” note produced by the prisoners of Block 19 in Sachsenhausen. Retail copies of the book will come with a replica Bernhard note depicting the signatures of three survivors of Block 19: Adolf Burger, Jack Plapler, and Hans Walter. Guidance on how to conserve an authentic Bernhard note is printed on the backside of the replica.
Each copy of the short-run collectible book will be numbered 1-1000 and will retail for $199. Thanks to the generous contributions of donors and sponsors, 200+ copies will be made available to students at an 85% discount. Available from bookstores, coin and paper money dealers, trade shows, and internet booksellers. Copies may also be obtained from the Coin & Currency Institute, www.coin-currency.com, +1 800 421 1866. Free shipping in the USA. Foreign orders will be billed actual cost.
For more information about book launch events in the United States, the Netherlands, and Germany, contact Danny Spungen at [email protected] / +1 847 775 4675.