discret and secret

The legendary Enigma machine used by the German armed forces during the Second World War is a permanent exhibit in the Arithmeum. What were the milestones that led to the development of this machine, which was considered to be foolproof? What other devices existed at the time? And what role does cryptography play today?

The German Federal Office for IT Security has collected a number of cryptographs (coding machines) for teaching and studying purposes, and these are now on view for the first time to the general public in the Arithmeum.

The exhibited collection mainly comprises machines built by the firm Crypto AG. They were developed by Boris C. Hagelin well into the 1960s and some of them are still in use today. Highlights are the „Kryha Standard“ of 1923 and, of course, the legendary ENIGMA and the cryptograph T52, a teletyper which was able to encode online, i.e. while the message was being typed in.

With the ever increasing use of internet, e-banking and e-commerce, questions of security in information transfer have become very important. Public key cryptosystems and digital signatures, for example, are central to these new methods. In this connection the present exhibition of historical cryptographs can help to awaken an interest in this complex theme.