Postcard-Russia-Finland-bar

In 1906 an unknown person sent an encrypted postcard from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Vaasa, Finland. Can a reader decrypt it?

Encrypted postcards are usually not too difficult to decipher. On Klausis Krypto Kolumne I have introduced dozens of them with my readers reaching a success rate close to 100 percent.

 

From Russia with love

The postcard I am going to introduce today – it was provided to me by comedy hacker, blogger and postcard collector Tobias Schrödel – is probably far from unbreakable, too. However, it is probably written in Finnish or Russian – not necessarily languages everybody understands. Here’s the picture side:

Postcard-Russia-Finland-pic

The postcard stems from St. Petersburg, Russia. As the text side shows, it was also sent from there in the year 1906:

Postcard-Russia-Finland-text

The recipient was a woman named Inkeri (which would be “Ingrid” in German; there is no English counterpart of this name) living in Vaasa, Finland. The name(s) of this city fill a whole paragraph on Wikipedia:

The city was known as Wasa between 1606 and 1855, Nikolaistad (Swedish) and Nikolainkaupunki (Finnish) between 1855 and 1917, Vasa (Swedish) and Vaasa (Finnish) beginning from 1917, with the Finnish spelling of the name being the primary one from ca 1930 when Finnish speakers became the majority in the city.

The recipient address can be found on Google Maps (including Streetview).

Most encrypted postcards I’m aware of were written by young men to their loved ones. This suggests, that the sender of this card was Inkeri’s spouse. He sent his message from Russia with love – in the true sense of the meaning.

 

The cryptogram

Postcard-Russia-Finland-cryptogram

The cipher used is probably a simple letter substitution. The main question is: was the card written by a Finn staying in Russia (i.e., the language is Finnish) or by a Russian having a spouse in Finland (i.e., the language is Russian)? The former is certainly more likely, as men used to travel more often than women, but not sure.

Can a reader solve this postcard?


Further reading: Who can solve this encrypted postcard from Christmas 1906?

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13501820
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/763282653806483/

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Gib Deine E-Mail-Adresse an, um diesen Blog zu abonnieren und Benachrichtigungen über neue Beiträge via E-Mail zu erhalten.

Kommentare (13)

  1. #1 Thomas
    10. März 2017

    Must be Finnish (no Russian) patterns. The crossed out circle and the Phi-like character standing for a/o, with to dots for ä/ö.

  2. #2 Thomas
    10. März 2017

    If there is no Finnish speaker, a simple substitution solver based on Finnish tri-/quadgrams (http://practicalcryptography.com/cryptanalysis/letter-frequencies-various-languages/finnish-letter-frequencies/) could break the ciphertext.

  3. #3 anderer Michael
    10. März 2017

    The most frequent Finnish letters are “a”, “i” and”t”.

  4. #4 leser
    11. März 2017

    I’d say it’s finnish.
    – I doubt a Russian would use “Waasa” since it alludes to the swedish dynasty, considered sort of an arch enemy to Russia (note the renaming to the name of the just decased czar)
    – OTOH a Finnish person may be expected to use the old name as subtle protest
    – a Swedish person would have used the swedish spelling of (W/V)asa
    – the name of the street uses the finnish abbreviation (“-k.” for kattu, the finnish loan of swedish “gata”)
    – a Russian most likely would have written the address in cyrillic letters as well, not latin — not only was forced russification still an issue in 1906, but one certainly could expect post office employees in Finland to be able to read a cyrillic address in all parts of the empire. That “Finlandia” was written in cyrillic letters would be the minimal requirement to get the letter out of Russia proper.
    – the latin letters look much more fluent than the cyrillic ones (and those are just “Finlandia” twice)

  5. #5 Thomas
    11. März 2017

    Moreover, the index of coincidence is 0,072. (Finnish: 0,073; Russian: 0,056).

    A transcryption (not regarding the dots above two chars, the commas seem to be word separators):

    ABCDB VQRB ATQG
    SBCDBD ECBFBD GHIJDBD
    FKCBL FBMJNNBD STDM
    IBKOECHIBD STDM
    CDVKCS CHI FCD GJ
    VEQHMECHI NCR LKBQSCVBN
    IBKOBD KBCGB CHI DTHI ITQGB
    CHI MTDD DJHI DCHIR GTVBD UTDD
    SQ FBMJNNGR BKGR DJHIBCDBD FKCB
    IBKOECHI GBC VBVKQGGR QDS
    VBMQGGR UJD SBCDBN ITDG

  6. #6 Torbjörn Andersson
    Kalmar, Sweden
    11. März 2017

    It’s German:

    “Meine gute Maus
    Deinen lieben schönen Brief bekommen.
    Dank, herzlichen dank.
    Ingrid, ich bin so glücklich. Mit freundigem Herzen reise ich nach Hause. Ich kann noch nicht sagen, wann du bekomst erst noch einen Brief.
    Herzlich sei gegrüsst und geküsst von deinem Hans.”

  7. #7 Norbert
    11. März 2017

    MEINE GUTE MAUS
    DEINEN LIEBEN SCHÖNEN
    BRIEF BEKOMMEN. DANK
    HERZLICHEN DANK.
    INGRID ICH BIN SO
    GLÜCKLICH. MIT FREUDIGEM
    HERZEN REISE ICH NACH HAUSE.
    ICH KANN NOCH NICHT SAGEN WANN.
    DU BEKOMMST ERST NOCH EINEN BRIE[F.]
    HERZLICH SEI GEGRÜSST UND
    GEKÜSST VON DEINEM HANS.

  8. #8 Klaus Schmeh
    11. März 2017

    @Torbjörn Andersson, Norbert, Thomas:
    Thank you very much!!
    This is a real surprise. I wouldn’t have expected that it is in German.

  9. #9 Thomas
    11. März 2017

    Congratulations to Torbjörn and Norbert!

    Surprise, have to brush up my German :-)

  10. #10 Tony
    11. März 2017

    Well that explains why I wasn’t having any luck trying to match it with Finnish pattern words!

  11. #11 Tobias Schrödel
    München
    12. März 2017

    Vielen Dank an Torbjörn und Norbert!
    Auch ich bin überrascht, hätte ich doch nicht gedacht, dass sie in Deutsch geschrieben wurde.
    Ich habe noch ein paar weitere Karten, die zum Teil aber recht schwer werden dürften. Mal sehen, ob Klaus ein paar davon gebrauchen kann.

  12. #12 Klaus Schmeh
    12. März 2017

    @Tobias Schrödel:
    Danke noch einmal für die Karte.

    >Mal sehen, ob Klaus ein paar davon
    >gebrauchen kann.
    Auf jeden Fall. Bin gespannt, ob eine davon für meine Leser tatsächlich zu schwer ist. Bisher war das noch nie der Fall.

  13. #13 anderer Michael
    12. März 2017

    Afterwards it’s easy to say for me: ” It’s German. What else!”
    Wink isn’t a Finnish or Russian name. It existed a German speaking minority in the baltic and other parts of Russia. That’s why, I tried to identify German words like ” Liebling”, “Schatz”, “ich liebe dich”, and so on. But I ‘m a rookie in the art of decoding.Therefore without any success.
    After all it was a great pleasure for me to try to understand, what could be written in that postcard.