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Women Cryptographers in World War II

An article in the Austin American-Statesman by Ken Herman tells the wonderful story of two women cryptographers in World War II.  What did cryptographers do?  They had to put messages into code so that the enemy wouldn’t be able to understand.  Helen Nibouar, now 91, is quoted as saying, ““I have to admit I was a little frightened, just thinking how important that was and how responsible I had to be.” She and her fellow cryptographer and friend, Marion Johnson (now 95!!!), were honored in November 2012 at the National Security Agency‘s National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.

Here is a picture of Helen today.

Helen Nibouar, age 91, in an article from the Austin American-Statesman, November 2, 2012 by Ken Herman

Nibouar is quoted as being “shocked” that anyone would be interested in what she did during wartime.

Oh, but how fascinating what she and other women and men did during the war!  Especially important are the legions of “unknown” people who worked for the war effort.  All such stories are valuable, indeed invaluable, for the historical record.  Thank you, Helen and Marion, and the countless others, for all you’ve done!

Here is the Enigma Machine at the National Cryptologic Museum.  To learn how it works, click here.

The Enigma Machine at the National Cryptologic Musuem

And, if you are equally intrigued by the concept of the National Cryptologic Museum, check out this page where you can download documents from the World War II era about cipher machines, Western Communication Intelligence and the Holocaust, and Woman and Cryptology, among other fascinating and important topics.  Here there is more about Women and Cryptology.

And be sure to check out my post on Carrier Pigeons who carried coded messages during World War II–and before and since!

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