Do you know this Jew? He was a hustler who scammed Hitler


Jordan Palmer and AVISHAY ARTSY

In 1936 Canadian Nickel was needed for lining guns, particularly if you wanted to invade Poland and France, but at the time it was near impossible to get on the market. There was a de-facto boycott to Germany.

That was when a New York Jewish hustler named Freeman Bernstein and a corrupt metals dealer in Toronto came up with a scheme. Despite the embargo, they sent word to Germany they had Canadian nickel, but it had to be labeled as scrap metal. Once people agree to a fake bill of lading, every single part of the scam would work.

The Nazi’s took the bait, the money was paid and the cargo was sent out of Canada, but when it arrived in Hamburg, the Nazis were not happy. Freeman swindled the Third Reich by selling the Nazis 35 tons scrap metal and tin.

Eventually, Freeman was arrested and did was imprisoned for violating the embargo.

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This anecdote and many others are recounted in Hustling Hitler: The Jewish Vaudevillian Who Fooled the Führer, a highly amusing biography by longtime political columnist Walter Shapiro about his uncle, Freeman Bernstein. Bernstein, who went on to become a vaudeville producer, was a “con man with a heart of gold” whose exaggerated claims would put any presidential nominee to shame.

Years after briefly landing in jail for the Hitler hustle, Bernstein was at it again, this time selling phony diamonds to his old friend, actress Mae West at her Hollywood apartment in 1937. But West was no stranger to fancy jewelry, real or fake. After pulling out her jeweler’s scale, she bought the rubies and sapphires but handed back the cheap zircon.

Bernstein’s reputation for jewelry imports had earned him the nickname “The Jade King of China,” and as West recounts in her own autobiography, Bernstein smuggled the jewels into the country by feeding them to his dog just before arriving at port, and retrieved them hours later—you can guess how.