London, October 10: The Polish Government has launched a campaign to highlight the important and overlooked role played by its nation in solving the ciphers of the Nazis’ Enigma machine – a feat credited with shortening the war by two years.
Bletchley Park, which is synonymous with code-breaking glory by the British during World War Two to many, is where Englishman Alan Turing and his team of mathematicians cracked the Enigma Code.
In 1932, a group of cryptologists from the Polish Cipher Bureau – Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski – discovered three ways of deciphering Enigma readings.
Seven years later, just before war broke out, the Poles handed over their knowledge of the Enigma codes, as well as Polish-built replicas of the machines, to British and French Intelligence officers near Warsaw.
As fare as Senator Piotr Zientarski is concerned, the rest is history – but not the complete history.
“We have a duty to remind people just what the Polish cryptologists did,” the Daily Mail quoted Zientarski as telling the Daily Telegraph.
The government official said that in recognition of the trio’s efforts, the upper house of Poland’s parliament has passed a resolution in their honour to ‘restore justice’.
“In both popular literature and official information, the public was told that the breaking of the Enigma codes was due to the work of the British Intelligence services to the complete omission of the work of Polish scientists,” the resolution reads.
The Germans, who had been using the technology since the late 1920s, believed the codes were impossible to crack.
Using a complicated system of rotors, the machine would encode messages before sending them via Morse code to another machine.
If the receiving machine had been programmed with the same settings – one of 158 million million million combinations – the message would be deciphered.
However the team of cryptologists, linguists, scientists and data analysts at Bletchley, in Buckinghamshire, led by Londoner Turing, were able to break it.
At its peak, the team was cracking 6,000 encrypted German Enigma messages every day – building on the principles set out by Rejewski, Rozycki and Zygalski.
“This resolution restores justice. Not only did the Western Allies marginalise the achievements of Polish cryptographers but the Soviets did the same,” Jan Rulewski, a senator from the governing Civic Platform party, said.
“They were silent about the Polish contribution to saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of troops fighting on all fronts,” Rulewski added. (ANI)