Date & time (UTC/GMT):
April 17, 2021 5:00 PM
Until now the early history of the cipher machines, invented during WWI, consisted of legends. There was very limited information about the inventors, the first prototypes and the activity of the different companies developing and producing the machines. The biographies of the main figures (Scherbius, Ritter, Bernstein, Korn, Rinke and Heimsoeth) were more or less replaced by some legends too. In addition, those who were researching the history of cipher machines were mainly interested in their use during the 1930s and in WWII, in enciphering and deciphering messages, especially in Bletchley Park, and in the achievements of some important persons like Alan Turing. Only a few researchers, mainly David Kahn, had tried to find some facts about the early times of cipher machines, but for some reasons he could not find the accurate information, (there existed no internet and, like other researchers, he mainly used the Federal archives – and in Germany he used the Federal archive (Bundesarchiv). There are important archives of the Länder (Landesarchiv) and other local archives. I do not know very much about Cryptology, but some time ago I became interested in the biography of the persons involved in the development of cipher machines and in the political, economic and military conditions of their work. My research is based on some documents I found in German archives. The biography of my aunt Elisabeth who had married Arthur Scherbius in 1917 was just the beginning of my work. And there too, I first did not know anything and had to find some information in the archives. More and more persons and events appeared: Arthur Scherbius and Friedrich Joseph Pungs, the first and the second husband of Elisabeth, their relatives, many persons involved in the development of the Enigma, some actions related to the secret services in Germany (Abwehr) and in Great Britain.