How did Grindelwald recognise or know Voldemort, since Voldemort was only active after he was imprisoned? He would surely never have seen Voldemort.

So, you have come. I thought you would… one day. But your journey was pointless. I never had it…

Deathly Hallows, chapter 23, Malfoy Manor

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    These words do not mean that he knows who Voldemort is, or even what's his name. My guess is that Grindelwald supposed to meet another incredibly powerful wizard in his attempts to find the wand. What makes Grindelwald think that Voldemort is powerful? His break-in into Nurmengard. – madfriend May 4 '14 at 15:38
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    How did he come to know his name? Kill me then Voldemort... – Tom Lynd May 4 '14 at 15:44
  • We do not know what happened between Voldemort break-in and Grindelwald death. I think that Voldemort was so arrogant about the dark arts that he told his name to his predecessor before killing him. – madfriend May 4 '14 at 16:07
  • I don't remember anything of the sort happening in the books. – Tom Lynd May 4 '14 at 16:12
  • Someone has to be keeping him there, getting him food, etc. it's not like Dumbledore just said "be a good boy mad don't leave your room." – Kevin May 4 '14 at 17:08

No canon answer I'm aware of, but 4 likely possibilities:

  1. Generally, in Muggle prisons, prisoners aren't refused newspapers and such.

    Even Sirius got a newspaper from Fudge in Azkaban:

    Black put one of his claw-like hands inside his robes and took out a crumpled piece of paper, which he smoothed flat, and held out to show the others.
    It was the photograph of Ron and his family that had appeared in the Daily Prophet the previous summer, and there, on Ron's shoulder, was Scabbers.
    'How did you get this?' Lupin asked Black, thunderstruck.
    'Fudge,' said Black. 'When he came to inspect Azkaban last year, he gave me his paper. And there was Peter, on the front page & on this boy's shoulder... I knew him at once... how many times had I seen him transform? And the caption said the boy would be going back to Hogwarts... to where Harry was...'

    So it's entirely feasible that Grindewald knew of Voldemort from Wizard media.

  2. Prison guards talk.

  3. Voldemort boasted of himself during conversation parts we didn't hear, as @madfriend's comment says. Plausible but less likely than #1 or #2.

  4. Grindewald heard of Voldemort during his career as Dark revolutionary. He was defeated in 1945; Voldemort was already a brilliant student at Hogwarts between 1937 and 1944. He was just as brilliant as Dumbledore in his time; and Dumbledore was known academically by the time he graduated.

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    I disagree with you at one point He was just as brilliant as DUMBLEDORE in his timeDumbledore was unmatched.... – Tom Lynd May 5 '14 at 12:55
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    @TomLynd - Leaving aside magic, precise measurement of IQ on ~200 scale is not practicable. You don't have good enough calibration. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 5 '14 at 13:02
  • another possible point - even if Grindelwald say, knew of Voldemort, but hadn't seen a picture of him... Grindelwald still would have realised who he was, considering Voldemort's facial features at this stage are decidedly inhuman (snake-like slits for nostrils, red eyes, no hair or lips etc.) - assuming of course this was well-known (and I suspect it would be?) – The Giant of Lannister May 5 '14 at 13:36
  • @TheGiantofLannister - or he could recognize the magical traces. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 5 '14 at 13:42

It's been quite a while since this question was asked but after the release of the movie "Fantastic Beasts and where to find them" I read an article in which J.K Rowling confirms that Grindelwald was a Seer.

So that could be a reason as to how he already knew Voldemort. It would also explain his short and cryptic conversation with Voldemort slightly better, like when he says "“You will not win, you cannot win! That wand will never, ever be yours—“". He already knew about the outcome of Harry and Voldemort's ultimate showdown.

The tweet from J.K where she confirms Grindelwald was a seer:

He is a Seer AND he was lying.

J.K.Rowling on Twitter, 11:48 PM - 18 Dec 2016

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    Now we have a canon evidence. @Tom Lynd, you now have your accepted answer. – Lefteris008 Jan 12 '18 at 8:57
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    Nice find!!!!!! – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 12 '18 at 14:37

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