The Counterfeiters is a film set during World War II. A German man named Salomon arrives in Monte Carlo and begins to enjoy the high life. He becomes a successful gambler and becomes attracted to a French woman. The woman discovers that the numbers tattooed on Salomon's arm reveals that he is a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp. Salomon tells his story about how he is a forger of passports and currency.
When he is arrested by the police, he is imprisoned in a labor camp. Salomon is soon relocated to the Mauthausen concentration camp. In order to protect himself, he uses his forging skills in order to gain attention of the guards. He uses his skill to make counterfeit paintings for the guards and their families in exchange for extra rations.
Salomon's talents help him gain even more attention, which leads to his release from the camp. He is arrested by police in Berlin and finds himself with prisoners with artistic talents. He is placed in another concentration camp. The counterfeiters imprisoned in the camp are treated far better than others. His fellow inmates are known to be bank managers, political agitators, and other powerful figures. Salomon continues his work to meet the demands of the Nazis while his fellow prisoners try to destroy the operation.
Salomon begins to counterfeit the US Dollar while the other prisoners are successful in counterfeiting British pounds. One day, the Nazis remove the counterfeiting machines, triggering the prisoners to fear that they may be killed. The Germans flee the prison when word is received that the Russian Army approaching their location. Some of the prisoners take up arms with confiscated weapons and break into the other areas of the prisoners and kill some of the counterfeiters that were mistaken for Germans. Salomon concludes his story with the woman and they spend time on the beach.