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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"That you have developed such a comprehensive mastery of Odd Nansen and all that surrounds him... is beyond impressive. You could have gone on for three times as long and kept us riveted with your enthusiastic delivery. Your passion fills you."

- Jim Troppman
former P&G executive, attendee

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Upcoming Events

Share

Book Signings

  • February 22, 2019: Providence Athenaeum, Providence, RI
  • February 23, 2019: Village at Waterman Lake, Greenville, RI
  • February 24, 2019: Brightview Commons, Wakefield, RI
  • February 24, 2019: Atria Bay Spring Village, Barrington, RI
  • February 25, 2019: Atria Lincoln Place, Lincoln, RI
  • February 25, 2019: Atria Aquidneck, Portsmouth, RI
  • March 6, 2019: North Oaks, Pikesville, MD
  • March 7, 2019: Maris Grove Retirement Community, Glen Mills, PA
  • March 7, 2019: Blakehurst, Towson, MD
  • March 8, 2019: Brightview Perry Hall, Nottingham, MD
  • March 8, 2019: Roland Park Place, Baltimore, MD
  • March 8, 2019: Edenwald, Towson, MD
  • March 9, 2019: Springwell, Baltimore, MD
  • March 10, 2019: York, PA Jewish Community Center, York, PA
  • March 22, 2019: Viterbo University, LaCrosse, WI
  • March 24, 2019:  Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Milwaukee, WI
  • March 25, 2019: Grand Dominion, Mundelein, IL
  • March 25, 2019: Carrington Lincolnwood, Lincolnwood, IL
  • March 26, 2019: Brookdale Lake View, Chicago, IL
  • March 26, 2019: Brookdale Lisle, Lisle, IL
  • March 26, 2019: Brookdale Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL
  • March 27, 2019: The Breakers at Edgewater Beach, Chicago, IL
  • March 27, 2019: The Admiral at the Lake, Chicago, IL
  • March 27, 2019: The Carillon Club, Naperville, IL
  • April 17, 2019: Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice, Charlotte, NC
  • April 24, 2019: Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC
  • April 29, 2019: The Watermark, Bridgeport, CT
  • April 29, 2019: Congregation B’nai Israel, Bridgeport, CT
  • May 2, 2019: Notre Dame High School, West Haven, CT
  • May 30, 2019: The Glebe, Daleville, VA
  • May 31-June 2, 2019: Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • June 11, 2019: Osher Lifelong Learning, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  • June 25, 2019: Nordic Center, Duluth, MN
  • June 27, 2019: Norway House, Minneapolis, MN
  • September 15, 2019: Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies, Oslo, Norway
  • October 15, 2019: American Scandinavian Society, New York, NY
  • October 17, 2019: 55-Plus Club, Princeton, NJ
  • November 1, 2019: Oshe Lifelong Learning, Furman University, Greenville, SC
  • January 21, 2020: Alpha Delta Kappa, Raleigh, NC
< 2019 >
February
SMTWHFS
     12
3456789
10111213141516
171819
  • Count Folke Bernadotte’s meets with Himmler to negotiate the release of Scandinavian prisoners
20212223
2425262728  
Legend
  Previous/Upcoming Engagements
  This day in history