Diario Judío México - The cryptographer Rolf Noskwith, who died on January 3 at age 97, proved that “The Imitation Game” could be followed by the hosiery game. As a key member of the team of mathematician Alan Turing, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the Oscar-nominated film “The Imitation Game,” Noskwith helped break German military codes to win World War II.
Noskwith was born to a Jewish family, originally named Noskovitch, in Chemnitz, Germany. His father, Chaim Noskwith, originally from Lodz, Poland, transplanted a textile manufacturing company to England after the German federal elections in 1932 advanced the Nazi Party. Along with other mathematics students at Cambridge University, including several Jews, Noskwith was recruited to work at Bletchley Park, Winston Churchill’s secret intelligence and computers headquarters located at the former home of Sir Herbert Samuel Leon, an English Jewish financier and Liberal Party politician.
Toiling under the supervision of Turing, Noskwith was assigned to break codes used by the German Navy. In “Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park” Noskwith observed that the work was “often so enthralling that the analyst due to go home at the end of the shift would be unwilling to hand over the workings.” Through his fluent grasp of the German language, he was able to guess meanings of corrupted messages from the enemy. The project’s tragic context was always evident, especially when he decoded a message about the Struma disaster. In 1942, a ship carrying Jewish refugees to Mandatory Palestine was sunk, claiming the lives of 800 passengers, including over 100 children. The researcher Martin Sugarman, chair of the Hackney Anglo-Israel Twinning Association, specified years later that Noskwith “remembers the Struma tragedy causing him much distress.”