The Counterfeiters (original title: Die Fälscher ) is anAustro-German film of 2007, directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky based on real facts.


It is based on a real fact and deals with the making of false money in Nazi Germany during World War II , which was called Operation Bernhard , a secret plan devised by the Nazis during World War II to destabilize the economy of the United Kingdom Flooding the country with counterfeit currency from the Bank of England . The film focuses on a Jewish forger, Salomon ‘Sally’ Sorowitsch, who is forced to work in the Nazi operation at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp .

Shortly after the end of World War II, a German arrives in Monte Carlo . After staying in an expensive hotel and paying with cash, you enter into the great life of Monte Carlo , play with luck in a casino, catching the attention of a beautiful French woman. Later, she discovers a number tattooed on his arm, revealing him as a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps.

The film then switches to Berlin in 1936, where the man, Salomon Sorowitsch, is discovered as a successful counterfeiter of currency and passports. Trapped by the police, he is imprisoned, first in a forced labor camp, then in the Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz . In an effort to ensure protection and scarce amenities on the field, he applies his forgery skills to the portrait and calls the attention of the guards, who commission him to portray them and their families.

Sorowitsch’s talents attract the most attention, and he is transferred from the concentration camp. Held in front of the police who stopped him in Berlin, he meets with other prisoners with artistic talents or printers, and begins to work in a special section of the concentration camp Sachsenhausen dedicated to the falsification. Counterfeiters are kept in relatively humane conditions, with comfortable bunk beds, showers, restrooms and adequate food, even if they are subjected to brutality and insults by prison guards. The other prisoners range in rank from Jewish banking managers to political agitators, and while some are happy to work for the Nazis to avoid extermination camps, the others see their efforts as supporting the Germans in the war.

At first, the instinct of conservation seems to direct to Sorowitsch, but its motives to falsify for the Nazis complicate itself as its concern grows for his fellow prisoners. He is aware of his role in the war against the Nazis, and his professional pride in counterfeiting the United States dollar, a currency he was previously unable to fake.

Sorowitsch juggles to demonstrate the progress of the demands to the Nazi authorities, the determination of their counterparts to sabotage the operation and their loyalty to their colleagues.

Prisoners successfully falsify the British pound, but intentionally delay the counterfeiting of the US dollar. At bottom, evidence gradually comes to prove that the war has turned decisively against the Nazis. One day the camp guards suddenly announce that the printing machines must be dismantled and transported away, which induces counterfeiters to fear that they will finally kill them. However, before anything happens to them, the German guards escape from the camp before the Red Army arrives. Prisoners deprived of food from other parts of the camp, armed with confiscated weapons, take control and break into the field where the counterfeiters have been kept in relative luxury. Until the insurgents see the tattoos of the well-fed prisoners they printed, they believed that the prisoners they printed were SS officers and threatened them. The counterfeiters must then explain what they did to the half-dead prisoners.

The film then returns to Monte Carlo where Sorowitsch, apparently disgusted with life, now takes advantage of the currency he faked for the Nazis and intentionally plays it all. Sitting alone later on the beach, he stands next to the French woman, worried after his seemingly disastrous losses at the table. Dancing slowly together on the beach, she comforts him as to all the money he has lost, to which he replies, laughing, that he can always do more.


The film is based on a memoir written by Adolfo Burger, a Slovakian Jewish typographer who was imprisoned in 1942 for falsifying baptismal certificates to save Jews from deportation, and later interned at Sachsenhausen to work in Operation Bernhard. Ruzowitsky consulted closely with Burguer at almost every stage of writing and production.


  • In 2008 he won the Oscar for the best non-English film .


Except for the musical adaptation of Marius Ruhland work, the soundtrack consists of tangos classic recorded decades earlier by the interpreter harmonic Argentine Victor Hugo Diaz and recordings of opera of the 30s and 40s.