Last month, German divers exploring the Baltic Sea to find old fishing nets found a very rare artifact in history: a strange device with buttons and a rotor covered with rust and algae.
“A colleague came up to me and said, ‘There’s a net wrapped in an old typewriter,'” said chief diver Florian Huber.
Like a typewriter, this device was used to send messages – but in this case, very dangerous and hidden messages. The group actually discovered a rare enigma encryption device used by Nazi Germany during World War II to transmit encrypted military information.
Divers found the device off the north-east coast of Germany, in the Gulf of Gelting, which is part of the Baltic Sea. On behalf of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the team used sonar technology to find abandoned fishing nets that pollute the oceans and are extremely dangerous to fish, seabirds and underwater mammals.
It is true that the Enigma apparatus temporarily allowed Germany to secretly provide information about the troop location and plans, but the “Allies” eventually deciphered their code anyway.
Code decoding was first attempted by Polish mathematicians in the 1930s, and later their attempts paved the way for further research, and eventually British mathematician Alan Turing deciphered the very tangled code of the Enigma. This achievement brought great victory to the Allies and, according to some historians, shortened the war by several years.
Turing is now considered the father of modern computer science, and to immortalize his achievements, the film The Imitation Game was made in 2014.
Germany created about 20,000 enigmas in the 1930s and 1940s, though only a few remain to this day. In 2017, a mathematician in Romania sold a well-preserved three-rotor enig for about $ 51620. At the same time, the four-riddle enigmas sold for more than $ 400,000 at auction.
Ulf Ikerodt, head of the archeological office in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Germany, said the found enigma device would be cleaned and then exhibited at a local archeological museum. He said the recovery process would take “about a year”.