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Forgery and the Third Reich: From Money and IDs to Vermeers and the Mona Lisa with Dr. Finn Ballard

Forgery and the Third Reich: From Money and IDs to Vermeers and the Mona Lisa with Dr. Finn Ballard


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

In this lecture, we will be focusing on a lesser-told chapter of Nazi history: the forgeries - of money and of documents - carried out both in service, and in defiance, of the Reich. We'll be discussing the biggest counterfeiting scheme in history: Operation Bernhard, which saw a team of Jewish inmates at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp being compelled to produce forged British pounds sterling (to the tune of around 300 million) for Nazi use. 

We'll also look at the astonishingly audacious forgery schemes which undermined the Third Reich - the efforts by remarkable characters such as Cioma Schönhaus, Willem Arondeus and Adolfo Kaminsky, whose counterfeit ID cards thwarted the Nazis (at least for a while). We'll examine the tale of the Polish diplomats in Switzerland, under Aleksander Lados, whose forged Latin American passports saved the lives of thousands of European Jews. We'll learn the (most bizarre) story of Hans van Meegeren, whose counterfeit Vermeers fooled the Nazis, and who had to stand trial for his life after WWII. We'll also look at the mystery of the copy of Mona Lisa said to have been retrieved by the 'Monuments Men' at war's end! 

Led by an expert on Third Reich history, Dr. Finn Ballard, this lecture will impart the remarkable tale of the forgeries which supported Hitler, and those which undermined him. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of a lesser-known chapter in the history of the Nazi regime.

Finn grew up in Northern Ireland before moving to England to study and later teach in the department of Film and Literature at the University of Warwick. He completed his doctoral study on German folklore and popular cinema in 2012, and has published extensively in the fields of Film Studies and Gender Studies. Since 2008, he has been living and guiding in Berlin. He now works as a historical advisor for television and film productions set in Berlin, particularly during the Weimar era or Third Reich. He is a journalist for the 'Siegessauele', Europe's foremost Queer magazine, and organises events at Berlin's English-language bookstore 'Another Country'.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
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(4)
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K
Kris Shapar (Coventry, GB)
Excellent, fascinating, vastly entertaining

I really liked this talk - Finn has such a wealth of knowledge, which he presents with such energy and enthusiasm. Compelling!

A
A. (New York, US)

This is an absolutely fascinating topic and Dr. Ballard does it justice in his excellent presentation.

L
L.M. (Los Angeles, US)
Finn

As i expressed to Finn, he does exemplary research on the topics of his lectures and provides text and visuals that, along with his engaging manner, keep his lectures interesting and make me look forward to each one.

J
Joanne (Norwich, US)

Excellent presentation as always with Finn. The amount of research he does to bring this information to attendees is quite amazing.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
100%
(4)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
K
Kris Shapar (Coventry, GB)
Excellent, fascinating, vastly entertaining

I really liked this talk - Finn has such a wealth of knowledge, which he presents with such energy and enthusiasm. Compelling!

A
A. (New York, US)

This is an absolutely fascinating topic and Dr. Ballard does it justice in his excellent presentation.

L
L.M. (Los Angeles, US)
Finn

As i expressed to Finn, he does exemplary research on the topics of his lectures and provides text and visuals that, along with his engaging manner, keep his lectures interesting and make me look forward to each one.

J
Joanne (Norwich, US)

Excellent presentation as always with Finn. The amount of research he does to bring this information to attendees is quite amazing.