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In 1940, the Nazis set a secret project in motion, Operation Bernhard. Chosen from the rows of men on their way to the gas chambers were typographers and printers. The 142 men selected were transferred to the strictly isolated block 19 in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The prisoners were presented with an enormous task: producing counterfeit British bank notes to the value of hundreds of millions of pounds. The notes, considered some of the most perfect counterfeits ever produced, were to be dropped from planes over London, with the aim of destabilising the British economy. One of the typographers was a young Jewish boy from Oslo, Moritz Nachtstern. Here he shares his shocking tale, from his arrest in Oslo, the journey to Germany, the horrors of the camp, to the impossibility of the operation: they had to produce exquisite forgeries, but as slowly as they could, to frustrate Nazi plans and to maintain their own safety.
Moritz Nachtstern (1902-1969), a typographer, was one of the 532 Norwegian Jews deported to Germany on the ship Danau in 1942. From March 1943 until February 1945 he was a prisoner in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany. Norwegian journalist Ragnar Arntzen edited the memoir for publication in 1949. ?Moritz Nachtstern's daughter Sidsel Nachtstern contributes a moving foreword to the book. Bjarte Bruland is a historian specializing in the Holocaust in Norway. He presently works as chief curator a the Oslo Jewish Museum preparing the permanent exhibition on Jewish culture and history in Norway to be opened in 2009. Lawrence Malkin is the author of Krueger's Men: The Secret Nazi Counterfeit Plot and the Prisoners of Block 19 which has been translated into seven languages. In his long career as a journalist, Lawrence was the European Correspondent of Time magazine, based in Paris, and the International Herald Tribune's correspondent in New York. His articles and reviews have appeared in many magazines including The Atlantic Monthly, Fortune, Horizon, and The Quarterly Journal of Military History. He lives in New York with his wife. Margrit Rosenberg Stenge was born in Cologne, Germany. She escaped to Oslo, Norway with her parents in 1939, where they survived the war hiding in a small mountain village called Rogne. At the end of the war they returned to Oslo where Margrit finished high school and then attended a commercial college for one year, specializing in languages. Subsequently she worked as a secretary in foreign languages. In the 1950s she moved to Canada with her husband. On a visit to Norway in 1996, she was given a book by a Holocaust survivor. After reading it, she decided to translate it. Since then she has translated several memoirs and books about the Holocaust.
It cannot be erased: Foreword by Sidsel Nachtstern 'The Norwegian will die tonight' by Bjarte Bruland Block 19 and Operation Bernhard by Lawrence Malkin Counterfeiter in Sachsenhausen by Moritz Nachtstern and Ragnar Arntzen Two Interviews with Moritz Nachtstern Glossary Index
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