Posen-Memorial-Klaus-bar

The Polish city of  Poznań offers a number of interesting Enigma sights. Now, a new one is planned: an Enigma information center. Suggestions from my readers on how this place might look like are highly welcome.

The breaking of the Enigma in World War II and in the years before is one of the most fascinating chapters in crypto history. It all began when in 1929 the three mathematics students Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski, and Jerzy Różycki from the University of Poznań, Poland, were chosen to work as codebreakers for the Polish cryptography unit Biuro Szyfrów.

Rejewski-Drygalski-Rozycki-4-Portraits

Three years later the three managed to break the Enigma. They developed techniques for the regular decryption of messages, which were applied with great success. Five weeks before the German invasion of Poland in 1939, Rejewski and his colleagues presented their achievements to French and British intelligence officers. The British used this information to break hundreds of thousands of Enigma messages throughout the war.

Today, Rejewski, Zygalski, and Różycki are national heroes in Poland. Especially in Poznań, where they went to university, they are highly regarded.

Last weekend I had the chance to travel to Poznań. Of course, I took the chance to take a look at the memorial dedicated to the three codebreakers. It is located next to the castle (it is, of course listed in the Cryptologic Travel Guide made by Christian Baumann and me).

Posen-Memorial-Paul-Marek-Klaus-Marc

The people on the photograph are Paul Reuvers (Crypto Museum), Marek Grajek (leading Polish Enigma expert and book author), me, and Marc Simons (Crypto Museum). Next to the memorial there’s a cabin in the shape of an Enigma.

Posen-Enigma-Center

Inside this cabin a few tables and monitors provide information about the Enigma and other crypto systems.

A few hundred meters away another memorial dedicated to the three mathematicians is located in a university building (Collegium Minus).

Posen-Collegium-Minus

Jerry McCarthy has provided me the following transcription:

=================================================================
Pamięci
Mariana Rejewskiego
Jerzego Różyckiego
Henryka Zygalskiego
Matematyków wychowanków Uniwersytetu Poznańskiego.
Tych którzy w latach 1932-1933 odkryli tajemnicę kodowania niemieckiej wojskowej maszyny szyfrującej zwanej Enigma a następnie kierowali odczytywaniem tajnych niemieckich depeszców płynęlo na losy II Wojny Swiatowej.
=================================================================
And here’s the tranlation Jerry sent me (thank you very much, Jerry):
=================================================================
In memory of
Marian Rejewski
Jerzy Różycki
Henryk Zygalski
Mathematics Graduates of Poznań University.
Who in the years 1932-1933 discovered the secret coding of the German military enciphering machine called Enigma. They then directed the reading of secret German messages which affect the fate of the Second World War.
=================================================================

From there, Marek took us to a Poznań office building, where a temporary Enigma exhibition is taking place:

Posen-Exhibition

Marek, who is the leading expert on the Polish Enigma history, showed us around. He did a great job. It showed that he used to work as a tourist guide.

Posen-Grajek

Following the Poznań tour on Sunday, the four of us attended an Enigma conference on Monday (organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Greater Poland Voivodeship). We all gave presentations (mine was about the history of encryption machines before the Enigma). The following picture shows another speaker, Dr hab. Wojciech Guzicki, a Polish crypto expert.

Posen-Presentation

During my stay in Poznań I learned that there are plans for another place dedicated to the Enigma, a so-called Enigma Center. The Enigma Center, which will be located in downtown Poznań, shall showcase information about the Enigma and its history. However, it will not be a museum, as there will be no artefacts on display. Instead, the Enigma Center shall provide multimedia visualisations, games, challenges, interactive objects, and similar exhibits.

Marek, who is the curator of the Enigma Center, is still open for suggestions. So, if you have an idea on how to present the Enigma or other crypto concepts in an attractive way, please leave a comment. Especially, the exhibits in the Enigma Center shall be interesting for children and young people. Marek and I are looking forward to suggestions from my readers.


Further reading: New improvements in Enigma cryptanalysis

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Kommentare (5)

  1. #1 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa
    23. November 2017

    Abo…

  2. #2 Bernhard Gruber
    23. November 2017

    Poland makes a lot of advertising to inform that THEY broke the Enigma. One initiative is the ‘International Cryptology Game’ (basic and advanced level are already done, the Enigma level ends this Friday) which is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. See http://codebreakers.eu for info. I would expect that the Enigma Center in Poland would concentrate on the polish codebreakers and their success, as most of the information is not really known to all of us.

  3. #3 Klaus Schmeh
    23. November 2017

    My friends Paul and Marc have published an article about their trip to Poznan, too:
    http://cryptomuseum.com/links/poznan/index.htm

  4. #4 Klaus Schmeh
    23. November 2017

    Tom Perera and his son Dan have created a page they often show to people who are planning Enigma displays:
    http://EnigmaMuseum.com/museumservices/

    http://www.EnigmaMuseum.com is the only organization in the world that searches for, restores and sells working original Enigma machines.

  5. #5 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa
    24. November 2017

    @Klaus. Nice picture of the “Tablica” in the Collegium Minus. Did you happen to take any other pictures of it from maybe a slightly different angle?