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The legendary Enigma has been found in Baltic waters!

A sensational find has fallen prey to German divers working off the coast of Kiel on removing ghost nets from the Baltic Sea. During one of the dives they found and brought to the surface the legendary German cipher machine Enigma, dating back to World War II. The action to remove ghost nets from Gelting
Published: December 2, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 21:39
The legendary Enigma has been found in Baltic waters!

A sensational find has fallen prey to German divers working off the coast of Kiel on removing ghost nets from the Baltic Sea. During one of the dives they found and brought to the surface the legendary German cipher machine Enigma, dating back to World War II.

The action to remove ghost nets from Gelting Bay, located between Flensburg and Kiel, was conducted as part of the activities of the popular environmental organisation WWF. Underwater researchers from the company Submaris, who performed the bottom scanning with side scan sonar, probably did not expect such an unusual find…

Enigma at the bottom of the Baltic Sea found by divers
Enigma found at the bottom photo Florian Huber/Submaris

No wonder they were surprised when at one point, among the broken fragments of the network, they came across such an extraordinary treasure – the legendary German Enigma cipher machine from World War II.

The Enigma was used in the Third Reich to encode the communications of the SS, Gestapo, Wehrmacht and many other state organisations. Breaking the Enigma’s cipher code had a huge impact on the course of the war and the final victory of the Allies. The outstanding Polish mathematician and cryptologist Marian Rejewski and the cryptologists from the Cipher Bureau who cooperated with him, including Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki, contributed immensely to this success.

It is undoubtedly interesting to note that although the Enigma cipher machines were produced in very large numbers, very few copies have survived to this day, making them all extremely valuable historical exhibits.

Enigma extracted on board the boat
The lucky finders with the machine brought to the surface photo by Uli Kunz/Submaris

WWF uses state-of-the-art technology to detect ghost nets. In this case, side scan sonar was used to scan the seabed for nets, and then the selected sites were examined by divers, who repeatedly encounter unusual objects in the process. This was also the case in November when the Enigma was found.

The fished-out monument was taken to the conservation laboratory of the Schleswig Archaeological Museum, where it will be examined in detail and subjected to conservation work before being added to the museum’s collection.

Photo: Ghostnet recovery – Enigma Discovery, Christian Howe/Submaris

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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