The 2007 Academy Award®-winner for Best Foreign Language Film, The Counterfeiters is the true story of Salomon Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics), a shady character known in Berlin’s underworld as “King of the Counterfeiters.” His criminal career comes to an abrupt halt when he is arrested and sent to a Nazi concentration camp.
The German army is on the brink of bankruptcy so Sorowitsch, desperate to survive, makes a deal with the devil. He’ll use his expertise to make counterfeit money which will fund the Nazi war effort and in exchange he and a handpicked group of specialists will receive decent food, a comfortable place to sleep and fair treatment. Beginning in 1942 and continuing until 1945, Operation Bernhard becomes the largest counterfeiting undertaking in history, succeeding in forging over £130 million before the end of the war, but despite his criminal nature the moral quandary of a Jewish man helping the Nazis hangs heavy on his conscience.
Written and directed by Stefan Ruzowitsky, and based on the book The Devil’s Workshop by Adolf Burger The Counterfeiters is a study of the human will to survive disguised as a war-time thriller. Ruzowitsky carefully reconstructs the horrors of the concentration camp, effectively creating an atmosphere of fear and dread but keeps story focused on Sorowitsch and the consequences of his awful choice. It is thought provoking material that examines the moral choices and life-and-death decisions made in the face of adversity.
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