Photograph of three Enigma machines in use
Photograph of three Enigma machines in use
Production date
c. 1939-1945
Additional Title information
A photograph of a three Enigma machines in use by Wehrmacht personnel.
Photographic paper (Agfa Lupex)
Photographic print
94 x 67 mm
Serial number(s)
Category / Subcategory (if applicable)
Main collection (Warwickshire, UK).
In storage
Purchased from a German dealer.
Acquisition Date
Mar 2022
Associated object(S)
Record Last Updated
Sep 24, 2023
A photograph of three Enigma I machines operated by Wehrmacht personnel. Both the location of the photograph and the year it was taken are unfortunately unknown. The Enigma machines are shown in a space which appears to have been set up as a communications room. In the photograph there is an operator for each of the three machines and two other personnel to write down the messages, as can be seen clearly in the right of the frame. A print on this photograph appears in Tom Perera's book 'Inside Enigma: The Secrets of the Enigma and other Historic Cipher Machines'.
Photographs of Enigma machines in use are very rare. During the War, it was strictly forbidden to take photographs of the Enigma machine and other cipher equipment. The Allgemeine Schlüsselregeln für die Wehrmacht (1944 edition) states: "IV. Geheimhaltung. 9. Das Photographieren von Schlüsseln, Schlüsselmitteln und Aufzeichnungen aller Art hierüber ist verboten. Beim Photographiern von Nachrichtenstellen oder Nachrichtentrupps ist Vorsorge zu treffen, daß rechtzeitig alle Gegenstände entfernt werden, die der Geheimhaltung unterliegen" (IV. Secrecy keeping. 9. Photographing keys, key tools and any kind of records related to this is prohibited. When photographing communications stations or communications troops, precautions must be taken to remove all objects that are subject to confidentiality in a timely manner). However, there were some people who did take some photographs, such as this example. Valuable information can be gained from these images, such as the number of personnel that operated the machine and how the machine and associated equipment were set up.
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