Adolf Burger, Counterfeiter, Dies at 99

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Adolf Burger, age 99, the last surviving member of the “Operation Bernhard” counterfeiting operation, died December 8 in Prague, the New York Times reported (see the obituary here).

Operation Bernhard was located for most of its existence in Sachsenhausen, and although the Jewish prisoners who were its members were never allowed out of their special barracks, and no outsiders were allowed in, everyone in the camp knew what was up.  As Odd Nansen wrote in his diary for November 29, 1943:

       “That printing shop is employed in forging documents and money, turning out all the   fraudulent printed matter of which the Third Reich makes use.  So much is beyond doubt. But the most horrible thing is that it’s taken for granted that the thirty-eight Jews employed in there will never come out to tell what they have done.”

Strangely enough, Nansen was wrong: the counterfeiting operation was so important to the Nazis that it was continued (and the Jews spared) until the final days of the war–when the members fell into the hands of the Allies–and thus almost all of them, like Adolf Burger, survived.

Several books have been written about Operation Bernhard in addition to Burger’s memoir. Moritz Nachtstern’s Counterfeiter: How a Norwegian Jew Survived the Holocaust (available here), has been called by Lawrence Malkin “the most reliable and psychologically acute version of the drama from inside of Sachsenhausen’s Block 19.” (Malkin also has written an excellent history of the Nazis’ counterfeiting program, Krueger’s Men, available here).  The movie “The Counterfeiter,” which is loosely based on Burger’s experiences, won the 2007 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (available here).

 

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February
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< 2018 >
February
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1819
  • Count Folke Bernadotte’s meets with Himmler to negotiate the release of Scandinavian prisoners
2021222324
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Legend
  Previous/Upcoming Engagements
  This day in history

Upcoming Events

Share

Book Signings

  • February 17, 2018: Sons of Norway, Roswell, GA (5:00 pm)
  • March 4, 2018: Sons of Norway, Boston, MA (3:00 pm)
  • March 9, 2018: Furman University Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (1:00 pm)
  • April 10, 2018: Spartanburg Public Library, Pacolet, SC (6:30 pm)
  • April 12, 2018: NC State University Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (1:15 pm)
  • April 18, 2018: Lifelong Learning Roundtable, Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC
  • April 20, 2018: Sons of Norway, Saddle River, NJ (7:30 pm)
  • April 24, 2018: Bernards Township Public Library, Bernards Twp., NJ (7:00 pm)
  • April 25, 2018: Old Guard of Princeton, Princeton, NJ (10:15 am)
  • April 26, 2018: Summit Public Library, Summit, NJ (7:00 pm)
  • April 30, 2018: Ridgewood Public Library, Ridgewood, NJ
  • June 1-2, 2018: Georgetown University Bookstore, Washington, DC
  • June 4, 2018: The Kenney, Seattle, WA (1:00 pm)
  • June 4, 2018: Sons of Norway, Conway, WA (5:00 pm)
  • June 6, 2018: Emerald Heights Retirement Community, Redmond, WA (1:30 pm)
  • June 7, 2018: Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle, WA
  • June 9, 2018: Sons of Norway, Santa Rosa, CA
  • June 10, 2018: Sons of Norway Sixth District Convention, Rohnert Park, CA
  • June 13, 2018: Congregation Beth Shalom, Napa, CA
  • August 30, 2018: Charleston Library Society, Charleston, SC (6:00 pm)
  • October 11, 2018: Willow Valley Communities, Willow Street, PA
< 2018 >
February
SMTWHFS
    123
45678910
11121314151617
1819
  • Count Folke Bernadotte’s meets with Himmler to negotiate the release of Scandinavian prisoners
2021222324
25262728   
Legend
  Previous/Upcoming Engagements
  This day in history