Nazi Code Breaker's Notebook May Fetch $1M

A notebook about mathematics and computer science written by Nazi-code breaker Alan Turing, played by actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the Oscar-nominated film “The Imitation Game,” will be sold at auction, Bonhams auction house said on Wednesday.

The 56-page manuscript is expected to fetch at least seven figures, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity, when it goes up for sale on April 13 in New York.

Turing was a British genius mathematician and a pioneer in computer science who hastened the end of World War Two by cracking Germany’s wartime communications code.

In the notebook, which has never been seen in public and dates from 1942, Turing works on the foundations of computer science and mathematics.

“This manuscript dates from the time when Turing was engaged in the crucial task of breaking the Enigma Code,” said Cassandra Hatton, senior specialist in fine books and manuscripts at Bonhams.

“Its mathematical content gives an extraordinary insight into the working mind of one of the greatest luminaries of the 20th Century,” she added in a statement.

Turing never received credit for his work during World War Two and committed suicide in 1954 while receiving hormone treatment after being charged with homosexuality, which was then a crime. He was pardoned 60 years later.

He left the notebook to his friend Robin Gandy, who inscribed his own musings between the pages of Turing’s notes. Gandy kept the notebook hidden until his death.

Cumberbatch, an Academy Award best actor nominee for his portrayal of Turing, described him as a gay icon who lived during a time of intolerance.

“His impact on our everyday lives is enormous, and the thought of being able to hold a manuscript that was written by him is thrilling,” he said in a statement.


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Nazi Code Breaker's Notebook May Fetch $1M

Thank you!

This article has been sent!