Otmar Moritsch, Wolfgang Pensold

CD-ROM – Breaking the Enigma

Triumph and Tragedy in the Polish-German Cipher War

In the 1920s the German Reichswehr adopts the cipher machine Enigma to secure military radio communication. During the Third Reich, Enigma machines are put into operation in numerous Wehrmacht units. Poland, which is imminently threatened by the German rearmament, begins efforts to break the Enigma-encoded messages. Marian Rejewski, a young mathematician employed by the Polish Army´s General Staff, finally succeeds in reconstructing the machine, breaking its codes and decrypting its ciphers…
The CD recapitulates this remarkable episode, when a brilliant 27-year-old mathematician triumphs over the advanced German war machine. A 3D-model allows for insights into the innermost parts of Enigma; an additional CD-layer offers Rejewski’s Enigma calculations. Moreover, a fully functional reconstruction of the Enigma allows users to explore interactively the encoding system.

The Authors:

Otmar Moritsch, Ph.D.; physicist; head of the department of Information and Communication and the permanent exhibition medien.welten at the Technisches Museum Wien; research partner on several EU-projects concerning the development of digital media technology.

Wolfgang Pensold, Ph.D.; media historian at the Technisches Museum Wien, responsible for conception and content of the permanent exhibition medien.welten; research projects on numerous topics of Austrian media history.


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