German divers who recently fished an Enigma encryption machine out of the Baltic sea, employed by the Nazis to send coded messages during world war II, handed their rare find over to a museum for restoration.
The legendary code machine was discovered during a search for abandoned fishing nets in the Bay of Gelting in north-east Germany, by divers on assignment for environmental group, WWF.
“A colleague swam up & said: there is a net there with an old typewriter in it,” Florian Huber, the lead diver told the DPA press agency.
The team quickly realized that they had stumbled across a historic artifact & alerted the authorities.
Ulf Ickerodt, head of the state archaeological office in the Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein region, said the machine would be restored by experts at the state’s archaeology museum.
The delicate process including a desalination process after 7 decades in the Baltic seabed, “will take about a year”, he said.
After that, the Enigma will continue on display at the museum.
Naval historian Jann Witt from German Naval Association told DPA that he believes the machine which has 3 rotors was thrown overboard from a German warship in the final days of the war.
It is less likely that it came from a scuttled submarine, he said because Adolf Hitler’s U-boats used the more complex 4 rotor Enigma machines.
The Allied forces worked tirelessly to decrypt the codes produced by Enigma machine which were changed every 24 hours.
British mathematician, Alan Turing, seen as the father of recent computing, spearheaded a team at the Britain’s Bletchley Park that cracked the code in 1941.
The breakthrough helped the Allies decipher crucial radio messages about the German military movements. Historians believe it shortened the war by about 2 years.
The story was became a 2014 movie called “The Imitation Game”, starring Oscar nominated British actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing.