Operation Bernhard Book

Forging Secrets

Faces and Facts Inside the Nazi Operation Bernhard Scheme

What is the book, why did we publish it, and where can it be ordered?

Forging Secrets: Faces and Facts Inside the Nazi Operation Bernhard Scheme is a unique book published by the Spungen Family Foundation that features never-before-seen accounts from historians, descendants of Holocaust survivors, and the granddaughter of the Nazi who ran “Operation Bernhard.”

“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.”

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 6 or 7 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 book.

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Tribute to Students

You have been a major focus point from start to finish as we created this book. So many of our Spungen Family Foundation meetings and discussions with friends and associates revolved around you! Any question asked of us about the book was answered with students in mind. But what defines a “student?” In some sense, we are all students—especially when it comes to a topic as complex and far-reaching as the Holocaust. As we considered our target audience for the book, all we knew for sure was that we must engage students—and try to embrace as many students as possible.

The Spungen Foundation “sweet spot” for education is high school and university students who have the opportunity to view our Holocaust collection and exhibits in person at their schools, libraries, places of worship, and other venues where we are invited to exhibit. Given that this book is being completed during the COVID-19 era, we must also include students who view our exhibits virtually.

When we started this book project, we avoided discussions about cost. We focused instead on offering more than just a book. We focused on unusual features like the die-cut cover and special inserts for collectors to add their own Operation Bernhard notes and genuine Bank of England notes of the WWII era. These features added significantly to the production cost of the book. It is worth it to us if the quality, content, and design inspire you to become more interested in this chapter of history, as well as the process of “writing history.” And of course, we hope you will also become interested in the world of collecting! The great news is that friends of the Spungen Family Foundation were very happy to contribute to the first printing of the book, knowing that 100% of their donations would go toward making the book more affordable for you. In this special project, we wanted all parties to literally be “on the same page” in understanding and supporting this student-focused goal. Therefore, we asked friends of the foundation to make donations as an investment in you, your fellow students, and in education. Here are the names of students these donations have supported so far:

Robbie S. | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2022)
Matthew M. | Purdue University (2022)
Gabriel E. | University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (2023)
Federike N. | High School Student, Germany (2022)
Ernie S. | University of Toledo (2022)

Friends of the Foundation - In Honor of Students

Here are the people we would like to recognize and thank for their generous support of this book:

Ivo Zlamal
Siva Yam & Mai Hoang
Bertha & Chad White

Bertha is the daughter of Holocaust survivor Carla Klein Shock – a “Shanghailander”

Nancy & Al Wermer
Sunny (Wei) Wei
Min Qian
Lynn & Drew Tucci
Amy & John Tooke
Shelly & Rob Stanton
Sheryl Lynn Simko
Laura Shrout
Neil Shafer

Neil is the husband of Holocaust survivor Edith Oelsner Shafer—a “Shanghailander”

Michael Schwartz
Carol & Jim Schuster
Doug Savage
Pam & Eric Rosenbloom
Lora & Otto Placik
Helen Pinsky
Cindy & Marty Pinsky
Micah Nathan
Betty B. Mohr

Roya & Lou Meshulam
AJ Merwitz
Charlie Margolis
Suma & George Maliekal
Jane & Eddie Lorin
Linda Lord
Ben Leshem
Doris & Ron Lazarus

Doris is the daughter of Holocaust survivors Leah “Lonia” Kirshenbaum Mosak and Uscher “Oscar” Mosak

Daniela Lax and Anita

Daniela and Anita are the daughters of Holocaust survivors Renata Polgarova Laxova and Tibor Lax

Brian Lambert
Sharon & Sam Krengel
Marcy Kahan
Jan & Barry Himmelfarb
Steve Hefter
Jill & Jordan Gelb
Kim Fry
Randy Freeman
Julie & David Frank
Penny Fisher
Jordan Feiger

kendra & Scott English
Josephine & Henri Dyner

Henri was saved by the efforts of the righteous Sousa Mendes

Jacqueline Cope
Leslie & Brian Cohen
Shari & Mark Coe
Libby & Maurice Buring
Lea & Eric Buring
Shelly & Fred Brostoff

Shelly is the daughter of Holocaust survivor Ruth Neumann Saffro who turned 100 years old on March 22, 2022

Louise & Joseph Boling
Doug Bell
Peter Anthony

Peter is the son of Holocaust survivors Hilde Landau Rhalter and Manie Rhalter

Georgia & Steve Anderson
Hernán Zegarra Alvarado
Cheyenne & Brand Aldrich
Rosalyn & Harry Abraham

Harry is a Holocaust survivor—a “Shanghailander”

Dealers and Associates of the Foundation

Dealers, auction houses, third party grading companies, and organizations and clubs dedicated to collectors are an integral part of any hobby. The following individuals and their organizations have sponsored this book project as an investment in the next generation of collectors and students of the trade. With their focus on philatelic and numismatic related artifacts, they would be happy to assist in answering questions about Operation Bernhard notes or other WWII-related collectibles. If they do not know the answers themselves, they would be able to suggest others in the field who could help you.

To order a copy of Operation Bernhard Forging Secrets: Faces and Facts Inside the Nazi Operation Bernhard Scheme

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