Here are two cryptograms that are easy to solve: a postcard sent from Dortmund, Germany, in September 1900 and another one sent from the same place a few weeks later.

My friend Tobias Schrödel

Source: Schrödel

… not only is a great comedian and a leading crypto book expert, but also a collector of encrypted postcards. Frequent readers of this blog know that I have introduced several dozens of cards from his collection in the last few years. As good as all of them were solved by my readers.


A postcard from Dortmund

Today, I’m writing about two more postcards Tobias provided me. The cipher used by the sender is not especially complicated, so I’m sure these messages will soon be broken.

The first postcard, dated September 6th 1900, was sent from Dortmund, Germany, to a recipient named Fritz Salmen living at a place I have difficulties to read. It might be “Hier am Hafen” (“Here at the harbour”), which sounds strange, but makes sense, as there is a large river port in Dortmund. Apparently, the address part “at the harbour” was enough for the postman to locate the recipient.

Source: Schrödel

On the picture side of the card we can read the encrypted message:

Source: Schrödel

As it seems, each letter of the alphabet is encrypted with a one or two-digit number.


Another postcard from Dortmund

The second card is dated October 10th 1900. The recipient is again Fritz Salmen, but this time the place of residence is a little more specific: Weststraße 9 in Cörne near Dortmund.

Source: Schrödel

Cörne is today spelled Körne and the Weststraße (West Street) still exists. Again, the message is encrypted:

Source: Schrödel

Can a reader decipher the two messages? As I said, it’s not very difficult.

Further reading: Unsolved: A strange encrypted postcard from Newton, Iowa


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Kommentare (5)

  1. #1 Gerry
    28. Januar 2020

    Really nice, albeit a little bit difficult to read 🙂
    6 17 9 19 25!
    with I=J Fritz!

  2. #2 Kerberos
    29. Januar 2020

    “”but makes sense, as there is a large river port in Dortmund. “”
    Hallo Klaus,
    that “river” (canal!) port looks large today,
    but in 1900 it was much smaller, maybe just one of the
    two basins at the “Lütke Heidestaße” was in existence then.
    The canal from Henrichenburg to Dortmund depends
    on the ship lift in Henrichenburg, which was opened in
    1899 11 Aug.
    BTW the stamp is 2 Pfennig, this was local tariff.
    So the town name was “Hier” quite correctly and
    “am Hafen” meant just some houses presumably.

  3. #3 Kerberos
    29. Januar 2020

    Der Hafen
    wurde ab 1895 gebaut, kann also schon größer
    als von mir angenommen gewesen sein bei
    Über Wohnbebauung habe ich nichts gefunden.

  4. #4 Lisa
    11. Februar 2020

    It`s a really easy substitution. A=1, B=1, … and as Gerry already said I and J are both coded with 9

    My solution for the lighter pink card:

    Guten. Morgen. mein.
    lieber. Fritz.
    wünsche. dir. wohlgeruht.
    zu. haben. Sende. dir. viele.
    ittige. Küsse. Bis. gleich.
    dann. kommst. du. doch.
    wohl? Wache. auf. und.
    komme. zu. deiner. [?].
    Viele. Grüsse. und.
    Küsse. Deine. [?]

    I`m not sure about the “ittige”, wheater it is my mistake or the author forgot a letter. Also I can`t figure the name of the woman. Seems to be something like “Frinz”, “Faginz”

  5. #5 Lisa
    11. Februar 2020

    Red card:
    Headline, upside down:
    Adio. mein. lieber. Schatz. bis. nachher.

    Guten. Tag. mein.
    lieber. Fritz.
    wie. gehts?
    Hoffendlich. gut.
    empfange. mit.
    diesem. Tagesgrus.
    auch. viele. herzliche. Küsse.
    von. deiner. d. l.
    Frinz. (?)