German counterfeiting of British banknotes

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by PsyWar.Org, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Latest release of MI5 files today has a report on the German counterfeiting of British banknotes, known as Operation Bernard.

    BBC News - Nazi forged bank notes hit sterling confidence, MI5 files show

    The story is fairly well known and was even made into the film 'The Counterfeiters' in 2007 and a parody of the operation was shown in the excellent 1980's BBC comedy series 'Private Schultz'.

    What is less well known is that British postage stamps were also parodied. Some more details in this article: HTTP Error 403 (see page 4).

  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    They were produced quite locally to me at Sachsenhausen Concentration camp, which is about 1 hours drive away.

  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I think there is a thread on here about the film (can't remember the name but it was quite good) or the subject in general.
  4. Sonnema

    Sonnema Junior Member

    I thought it was a really good movie. In German it is called "Die Fälscher".
  5. wowtank

    wowtank Very Senior Member

  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    SS Sturmbannfuhrer Alfred Naujocks of the SD was the man whose role was manage the project of flooding Britain with £5 counterfeit bank notes to undermine the currency.The large white £5 notes were still circulation until the 1950s and would represent more than the average wage for the working man at the start of the war.

    It was Naujocks,regarded as Heydrich's murder squad leader who initiated Heydrich's plan for the outbreak of war against Poland by the fake attack on the Gleiwitz radio installation by his Polish uniformed SS force.He made the incident look genuine for propaganda purposes by the provision of a murdered Polish citizen and used murdered Sachsenhausen inmates dressed in Polish uniforms as a backdrop to the incident.

    Later in early November 1939,Naujocks and his SS troop were involved in the kidnapping of SIS agents Payne Best and Stevens on the Dutch border at Venlo after British intelligence had been hoodwinked that a supposed disaffected Wehrmacht general was wishing to contact British Intelligence.The ploy was Heydrich's,executed by his deputy, Schellenberg, which was successful for the Germans and provided the platform for a Hitler accusation that the British were behind the attempt by Georg Elser to assassinate him.

    Naujocks suvived the war to reveal his involvement at the Nuremberg trials.Schellenberg survived the war and was also able to testify of his involvement in happenings on the Dutch border at Venlo.Surprisingly,Schellenberg paid little in loss of freedom for his career in the SS,being imprisoned for as little as 6 years but died relatively young in 1952.Thought to have a lenient sentence imposed on him on account of his attempts to get Himmler to negotiate with Count Bernadotte to end the war.

    It was Schellenberg, who in 1940 was charged with drawing up the list of those 2300 prominent British citizens who would be taken into protective custody on aGerman victory.
  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    WE HAVE WAYS OF MAKING YOU TALK - podcast - Printing Money

    35mins audio

    "Printing Money
    James Holland and Al Murray talk about the German attempt to destabilize the UK economy by printing British bank notes. Also discussed are the French industrial failure under Nazi rule and the quality of the Japanese airforce and its highly experienced pilots."
  8. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Perhaps less well known is the fact that the Allies counterfeited German postage stamps in WW1 and WW2. The intention appears in the main to facilitate black propaganda exercises which involved introducing fake letters and other materials into the German mail system to spread rumours and lower morale. The letters would appear to have been genuine letters that had been mis-addressed. One such letter purported to be written by a German POW which talked in glowing terms about how well he had been treated, how well everyone was fed in Britain etc. In 1918 when belts were being very much tightened in Germany this acted both to demoralise the German civilian population and to make them more prepared to encourage their serving relatives to surrender/desert. Although printed in large quantities the letter looked as if it were handwritten (The technique was later used to produce "personal" thankyou letters from the King to returning British POWs in 1919 and still continues to fool people who come across them.) The idea was to introduce extra mail bags on to some German trains that passed through Swiss territory. The Armistice was signed before the scheme could be implemented but it was revised and reintroduced in WW2 and insertions carried out in a number of ways by both British and American agents.
    The stamps were produced by de la Rue the British banknote printers and were of very high quality. Indeed articles in specialist philately magazines suggest that one way to spot them is that they are of slightly better quality than the genuine article. They are more collectable than the real thing.

    In addition 'spoof' postage stamps were also produced in significant numbers these looked genuine until one noticed things like Hitler's moustache was even sillier. I think the intention was to drop bags containing sheets these along with leaflets.
  9. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    There's an echo on this thread. See Post #1.
    What is less well known is that British postage stamps were also parodied. Some more details in this article: HTTP Error 403 (see page 4).
    The link has extensive info on this subject.

    Harry Ree likes this.

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