One of the most interesting stories to come out of World War II is that of Operation Bernhard. Considered the biggest counterfeiting scheme in history, it involved a secret plot by the Nazis to flood England and the United States with enough forged currency that their respective economies would be significantly weakened. Obviously the plan failed, though by the end of the War the Germans, employing the forced labor of select concentration camp prisoners with applicable skills, had produced more than 130 million in fake notes, a minor amount of which managed to make their way into circulation.
This incredible story provides the backdrop for Stefan Ruzowitzky's The Counterfeiters, an Austrian film nominated for this year's foreign-language Academy Award. Like most movies based on a true story, though, this one is hardly 100% historically accurate and therefore isn't so much about the facts of the Operation as it is about themes of morality and "survivor's guilt" as they relate to the Holocaust. And as usual, some of the names and details have been changed to protect the sanctity of narrative complacency.