Master Forger for Oskar Schindler and the Mossad: The Extraordinary Life of Joseph Bau
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🔝 Today’s Featured Story
A master forger, a romantic, a spy, the ‘Israeli Walt Disney’: Joseph Bau was a man who lived many lives.
He was born in Krakow, Poland in 1920. His budding career as a graphic designer was cut short when war broke out in 1939, and he was sent to the Krakow ghetto. His art saved his life. He was used by the Nazis as a draftsman and wrote signs in Gothic letters. His access to pens and inks allowed him to forge documents and identity papers for people who managed to escape from the camp, thereby saving hundreds of lives.
He was transferred to the Plaszów concentration camp in late 1942, where he fell in love with another inmate, Rebecca, whom he secretly married in the camp. This unique wedding is featured in Steven Spielberg’s film ‘Schindler’s List’.
Joseph and Rebecca survived the Holocaust and moved to Israel in the 1950s. Bau opened a studio in Tel Aviv, and became a pioneer designer who made some of the first animation movies and graphics for films and commercials in Israel.
But Bau also continued to use his counterfeiting skills, becoming the Mossad’s main graphic artist. He forged documents for spies including the famous Eli Cohen, and the undercover team sent to capture Adolf Eichmann.