Page Five

Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen – Germany’s Secret War: Unternehmen Bernhard

In the summer of 1942, the Reichssicherheitshauptamt Amt VI (RHSA, Reich Central Security Department, Bureau VI), the office in charge of supplying forged identification documents for secret agents, undertook a secret plan to counterfeit British currency. About 140 Jewish men skilled in banking, graphic art, engraving, and printing were brought to Sachsenhausen to carry out Unternehmen Bernhard in an isolated block of the camp. Operation Bernhard was named for Friedrich Walter Bernhard Krüger, the Nazi SS officer in charge, who had previously been Chief of Police in occupied Poland. In 1943, this team was producing one million counterfeit £5, £10, £20, and £50 bank notes per month. German spies in neutral countries used high quality counterfeits; lesser quality notes bribed collaborators in occupied countries. The bogus money circulated freely in most parts of the world including England.

Pictured Below: A counterfeit £20 bank note from Operation Bernhard, manufactured by skilled prisoners at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Operation Bernhard counterfeits are the most faithful reproductions of British currency ever produced.


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