Synopses & Reviews
The true story that inspired the Oscar-winning movie The Counterfeiters.
"An astonishing and exciting tale. The drama of how the Nazis mounted a complex counterfeiting operation inside a concentration camp is matched by the chilling life-or-death saga of the prisoners involved. It reads like a thriller, but it's all true." -Walter Isaacson, author of The Wise Men
and Benjamin Franklin
Only a fortnight after the start of WWII, at a meeting that has remained a secret for more than half a century, Nazi leaders and officials of the German Reichsbank approved an audacious plot to counterfeit millions of British pounds.
Drawing upon top-secret bank records, German and British correspondence, and interrogation transcripts, Lawrence Malkin reveals how an unremarkable SS officer named Bernhard Krueger attempted to bring down the world financial system. But when Krueger discovered that forging pounds, and later dollars, was no easy task, he made a crucial decision: he would seek out the greatest counterfeiters of pre-war Europe and enlist them in the effort. He found them in an unexpected place: a Nazi concentration camp.
KRUEGER'S MEN is the remarkable story of how these Jews managed to save themselves. Part Schindler's List, part The Great Escape, this account of the Nazi plot is a fascinating portrait of deception, courage, and moral awakening.
"Few writers understand the mysterious intricacies of money better than Lawrence Malkin, and in KRUEGER'S MEN he has reconstructed one of the last great untold stories of World War II." -Robert Crowley, founding editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History
"A hard gem of a book." -Tampa Tribune
"The compelling story of the Third Reich's attempt to wreck the British economy by flooding Europe with millions of counterfeit British pounds. . . . Thorough research and authoritative voice enable this fascinating chapter of history to hold interest. Gripping proof that indeed all is fair in love and war." -Kirkus Reviews
"An engrossing and often inspiring chronicle." -Booklist
"Former Time correspondent Malkin tells a remarkable, little-known story from WWII: the Nazis' use of concentration camp prisoners to produce counterfeit British (and later American) currency and dump it to sabotage the Allied economies. Some readers might find Malkin's setup a bit slow, but the main events, deeply researched and tautly narrated, form a tale of opportunism made for a movie. The Nazis realized the labor could be drawn from concentration camps, and the prisoners realized that volunteering for the effort could save their lives. At the height of the operation, headed by SS officer Bernhard Krueger, the Jewish prisoners produced 650,000 notes a month. The counterfeiting helped finance some Nazi spy efforts, as well as other parts of the Reich's war machine, but it failed to bring down the Allies. As gripping as the tale of Operation Bernhard is, the story of how the Jewish counterfeit brigade most of them prisoners at Sachsenhausen survived the waning days of the war is even more so. 8 pages of b&w photos, 2 maps." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Offers the little-known story of a World War II counterfeiting plot by the Nazis in which SS officer Bernhard Krueger attempted to undermine the world financial system, a conspiracy in which he enlisted the skills of a group of concentration-camp Jews, in an account based on top-secret bank records, German and British correspondence, and interrogation transcripts.
This true story details the greatest counterfeiting scheme in history and the men the Nazis called upon to help it succeed, a group of concentration-camp Jews. of photos. 2 maps.
About the Author
In his long career as a journalist, Lawrence Malkin was the European correspondent of Time magazine and New York correspondent for the International Herald Tribune. He has collaborated on memoirs by Paul Volcker, Anatoly Dobrynin, Markus Wolf, and Stuart Eizenstat. His work has also appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Fortune, Connoisseur, and The Times Literary Supplement. He lives in New York with his wife.