The last recorded Nazi message intercepted and decoded by Britain in World War II has been revealed for the first time to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
The message – released by the UK’s intelligence and security organization Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) – shows the final words broadcast by a German lieutenant just before surrendering to British forces outside his building on Germany’s northern coastal town of Cuxhaven.
On May 7 1945, the lieutenant named “Kunkel” sent colleagues a final farewell message at 7:35 a.m. before closing their communication network “forever.”
“British troops entered Cuxhaven at 14:00 on 6 May – from now on all radio traffic will cease – wishing you all the best. Lt Kunkel,” the message read. “Closing down for ever – all the best – goodbye.”
In another message, intercepted on the afternoon of May 4, a soldier based on the Danish coast asks if anyone at radio control has any spare cigarettes, before wishing everyone luck. “No cigarettes here,” a colleague replies.
“These transcripts give us a small insight into the real people behind the machinery of war,” GCHQ historian Tony Comer said in a statement released Friday.
During the conflict, the Nazis communicated through an enigma key, codenamed “BROWN,” to “coordinate experimental weapons,” GCHQ explained.
British analysts first broke the German’s enigma code in 1940 at the top-secret Bletchley Park country estate northwest of London, and continuously decoded German messages throughout the war.
Friday marks 75 years since the end of World War II in Europe.
The date would traditionally have been commemorated with pomp and pageantry, but this year, due to the stay at home measures designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, public gatherings such as veterans parades and street parties have been canceled.
CNN’s Amy Woodyatt and Jack Guy contributed to this report.