|from the author...|
Thank you very much for your post; it is quite clear that you understand what I am trying to do in my book. Not only to tell a good story. You can read the blurbs and reviews to see that I have succeeded in what I started out to do, but as I went along with my research and writing over several years, serious points emerged in narrative and dramatic fashion. So the book turned out to be an allegory, but I did not want to make it into a polemic; there are enough of these on the market, and while they sell better now I hope mine lasts longer as the lessons sink in.
I wanted to say that survivial in war is very much a matter of chance (and sometimes a little shrewdness); that mad adventures (in this case economic warfare) usually end up as you might expect and sometimes in catastrophe, and that this is far more likely to happen in authoritarian than democratic states, where matters must be thrashed out and thought throigh by experienced people, are not just thrown into gear by a "decider."
That is why the book opens with a quick decision by Nazi espionage chiefs to dump millions of fake pounds on England, and not even Goebbels dares challenge them.The first attempt to counterfeit pounds fails because it is run by SS political types. By contrast, when both Roosevelt & Churchill consider trying the same trick on Hitler, they nevertheless put it through a process of reasoned debate and discussion before deciding that it will not work and probably will backfire -- which is exactly what it does to the Nazis.
By the time the Nazis figure out how to print millions, there is no Luftwaffe left to drop the bills on Britain (there never was anyway). Meanwhile the Jewish printers in Sachsenhausen concentration camp know they will be killed with their secret, so they conspire to stretch out the job in the hope of staying alive (and keeping their SS boss off the Russian front!). The money does buy some raw materials from neutrals and guns from partisans, but mainly it lines the pockets of SS men, pays spies whose valuable intelligence Hitler ignores, and, in a classic case of what we now would call "blowback," helps pay the freight for Jewish DPs and weapons for the nascent Jewish army to reach Palestine. There is so much moneyleft over that it is dumped in a lake, where it is preserved below the oxygen line for years, and meanwhile the embarssed grandees at the Bank of England spend their time trying to keep thre whole thing secret. The best fakes are in the Bank itself and the Wiesenthal Museum in Los Angeles.
To critics and those who may raise a personal attack, I would only say that some personal experience provides some legitmacy. I am a combat veteran of the United States Army. My wife survived World War II in hiding by the purest of chances and the kindness of strangers (see footnote p. 99). As a journalist and financial writer, I have a career trying to ferret out information in many countries; I find that, one way or another, the people who are not supposed to find outabout failures, errors, and embarassments, almost always do.
New York City