If the Nazis had really been serious about destroying the British and US economies during the War, they need only have parachuted a crack squad of bankers behind enemy lines.
Armed only with credit swaps, derivatives (and toting their seven-figure bonuses), they could have brought both countries to their knees within days.
Instead, through Operation Bernhard they tried to flood both countries with forged bank notes – a move designed to undermine the integrity of the currency and cause rampant inflation. (I think it's now called “quantitative easing”!)
The Counterfeiters is a film based on this true story, made all the more poignant because the counterfeiting operation was carried out by Jews recruited from the concentration campsand led by master forger Solomon Sorowitsch, a Russian-born Jew.
The dilemma Sorowitsch and his fellow forgers face is that their survival depends on their success – but that success will at the very least prolong the war and could even lead to a Nazi victory.
Like The Lives Of Others, The Counterfeiters is German cinema at its best – it won last year's Oscar for Best Foreign Film and you wonder why it wasn't even nominated in the main category.
First and foremost, it's a great story and beautifully acted, but also (like The Reader) it makes you face up to the complex moral choices that people face in wartime.
As the film's tagline says, it takes a clever man to make money, it takes a genius to survive.
A great film and a DVD worth renting, if not buying.