Forged British Banknote by Nazi Being Sold at an Auction

11 May 2020  Mon

A rare banknote forged by the Nazis in an attempt to destabilize the British economy during World War II is being sold at auction. The 50 pounds note, bearing the signature of the Chief Cashier 'B.S. Catterns', is dated June 15, 1933, and was made as part of Operation Bernhard - a scheme dreamt up by Adolf Hitler.

The plot by the Nazis was launched in the 1940s and a designated unit successfully duplicated the rag paper used to make money in Britain. The forgeries were supposed to be airdropped to Britain. Hitler dreamt up the bizarre strategy as a means of dangerously inflating the British pound so that no one would trust the UK economic system. They would be dropped on the assumption that - while some honest people would hand them in - most would keep the cash. But, in reality, only a fraction of the fakes ever made it to these shores.

The scheme, initially called Operation Andreas, had earlier been abandoned after Alfred Naujocks, who had led the operation, fell out with Reinhard Heidrich, a high ranking official in the German SS, in 1942. But it was revived later in the year, with 141 Nazi prisoners sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp to work under Major Friedrich Walter Bernhard Krueger.

As the war drew to a close, Operation Bernhard was eventually shut down. The note is set to be sold by Sworders later this month.

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