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1945: Truck lost at Colmar, France causes theater-wide search

Monday, February 3, 2020
1945: Truck lost  at Colmar, France causes theater-wide search

3 February 1945: Truck lost (stolen) at Colmar, France, containing three safes with a SIGABA, rotors, and keylists, causing a theater-wide search. The SIGABA machine was a vital part of a worldwide combined (US/UK) communications system, and should it fall into enemy hands, the results could be devastating. At the time, it was the only highly secure U.S. cipher system available to U.S. units in Europe.

After a great amount of concern, precautionary measures, and an extensive search, the stolen truck and its contents were found in March 1945. The SIGABA and cryptographic materials were recovered intact as they had been locked inside of safes that had not been opened and were dumped into rivers and streams. As it turned out, the investigation concluded that the truck was stolen for the value of the truck itself and the thieves were unaware that the truck contained highly sensitive cryptographic equipment.

Read the NSA publication, "The Colmar Incident" via the link below.

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About Us

The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community. We think you will agree it is truly a "museum like no other."

Located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland, the NCM houses a priceless collection of artifacts that represent our Nation's history in code making and code breaking, as well as a world class library of cryptologic media. The NCMF acquires the best artifacts for the NCM and supports new educational and interactive exhibits.

The NCMF provides exceptional cryptologic programs throughout the year, encourages young minds to explore cryptology and innovation through valued awards, and hosts educational, cryptology-related exhibits at various community events.

As part of the Foundation's partnership with NSA to build the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (CCEI-NCM), the NCMF also serves as a leader in the field of cybersecurity - striving to provide the best in educational resources and programs.

The NCMF and NCM share a joint three-fold mission to Educate, Stimulate, and Commemorate. Learn more about our MISSION.