In 1914, a man sent an encrypted postcard from Kiel to Hannoversch Münden. Contrary to all other encrypted postcards I know, this one was written with a typewriter.
Yesterday, I was at the ITSA in Nuremberg, Europe’s leading IT security exhibition. I took part in a conference about usability in IT security hosted by the German Ministery of Economics and organized by my friend Hellen Takenberg. The first presentation was given by Tobias Schrödel, …
… known to my readers as the world’s best comedy hacker. After Tobias, it was my turn.
Like always, I used comic figures and Lego models for my presentation, which was well received. The third talk was given by another friend of mine, Angela Sasse.
A postcard written with a typewriter
Tobias is not only a great comedian but also a collector of encrypted postcards. I have blogged about many of the treasures in his collection. Today, I am going to introduce another one. The special thing about it is that it was written with a typewriter. I have never seen postcard of this kind before. Here’s the picture side:
The pictures show motives from Kiel, a North German harbor city on the Baltic Sea. Here’s the text side:
Contrary to many other postcards, this one is easy to read. According to the top line, it was written in Kiel on March 23rd, 1914. The recipient is an unmarried woman (“Fräulein”) named Lina Kellner living in Hannoversch Münden, a town between Kassel and Göttingen, Germany. Still today, there are people named Kellner living in Hannoversch Münden.
Most encrypted postcards were written by young men to their spouses. I don’t think that this one is an exception.
It is not very hard to break this encryption. The ciphertext expression “Efnm” in the second line stands for Lina, the name of the recipient. Other letters can easily be guessed. Can a reader decipher the rest of this cryptogram?
Further reading: An encrypted postcard from the Isle of Wight