I only have myself to blame for the anguish I suffered as I watched one of the worst films that I have seen in years. It gained a widely varied reputation - some critics loved it, most seemd to hate it. It bombed at the box office. Friends warned me not to watch it. But I did. I sat down and watched all two hours of The New World. The only thing that I can say in its defence is that it had some fantastic scenery. In fact it seemed as if the story had been ignored in favour of huge panoramic shots. Two long hours of amazing picturesque scenery just doesnt strike me as a decent enough reason to make a film. Maybe I am being overly harsh, maybe it is just the type of film that you need to be in the right mood for...but enough of The New World, just thinking about it makes my head hurt again.
The good film that I watched more than made up for the earlier cinematical disaster. I have been meaning to watch The Counterfeiters for quite a long time - for two reasons. Firstly because so many people raved about how powerful it was. And secondly because of the fact that this month we are publishing a book which revolves around Operation Bernhard and the Counterfeiters in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.
For anyone who hasn\'t heard about Operation Bernhard, it was the largest counterfeiting operation ever taken on. The German\'s initially launched it to destabilize the economies of Britain and the USA - by dropping millions of pounds and dollars from bombers - rendering both nations currency worthless. But the counterfeit notes were so perfect that they were actually used for Germany\'s foreign currency dealings leading up to the end of the war.
Our book Counterfeiter: How a Norwegian Jew survived the Holocaust is written by is the story of one of these counterfeiters, Moritz Nachtstern, told in his own words. Nachtstern was one of 771 Jews deported from Norway during the German occupation. Sent to Auschwitz he was only saved from almost certain death by his profession - being sent to Sacsenhausen and the isolated Block 19 to take part in the forging operation. What I found striking about his account is the terrible dilemma that these men faced. Their work was helping a bankrupt nation, which has enslaved them, continue the war. But if they refused to work they would be killed. If they were to finish the job and they would be eliminated so that their knowledge would die with them. So they tried to work as slowly as possible, without raising suspicion, walking a terrifying tight rope.
The film does a fantastic job in reflecting these moral dilemmas and the guilt felt by the counterfeiters, who are treated much better than the other inhabitants of their concentration camp. If you haven\'t had a chance to watch it yet - I can wholeheartedly recommend it!