Hans Walter, the sole remaining survivor of Operation Bernhard, the
Nazi counterfeiting operation at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp,
died April 20 in Mansfield, Ohio. He was 96 and was buried on
Wednesday, April 25, 2018, with a traditional Jewish ceremony.
Do coin doctors deserve scorn like coin
counterfeiters?: Do you view coin doctors and
counterfeiters in the same regard? Also in this issue, Wendell Wolka
discusses how to collect inflation notes.
His obituary states that he came to the United States in 1951 after
surviving five concentration camps. Mr. Walter was sent from Auschwitz
to Sachsenhausen. There he was made became a member of a 142-member
team of prisoners who, as part of a Nazi plan to destroy Britain’s
economy, were forced to counterfeit £5, £10, £20, and £50 notes. His
role was as a final inspector in an operation that produced nearly 9
million of the Bank of England notes with a face value over £100 million.
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Operation Bernhard was named after its director, SS Major Bernhard
Krüger. The team’s output is still considered among the most perfect
counterfeits ever. The fakes were made rag paper, with correctly
engraved plates, the right watermarks, and valid serial numbers.
Judaica specialist William M. Rosenblum says they can be identified
with 99 percent certainty based on serial number ranges, and by a
small anomaly: “ ‘Bank of England’ is found in the watermark at the
bottom of the note. There is a triangle at the base of the first ‘N’
in England. On the counterfeits there is a line that originates from
the center of the base of the triangle while on the originals the line