zespół szkół elektrycznych nr 1

im. Henryka Zygalskiego

Henryk Zygalski, a mathematician, a prominent cryptographer, a member of a small team of Polish experts, who in the early thirties of the twentieth century made the breach of the principles of the German cipher machine called "Enigma" (Greek: ainigma puzzle mystery; Latin: inscrutable mystery; Ger.: Änigma). The team also included cryptologists Marian Rejewski and Jerzy Rozycki.

It was a portable mechanical device in the shape of a suitcase containing the keyboard (like a typewriter), drums encryption system with 26 letters on the periphery and rotating mechanism. The machine enabled both very fast encryption and read the contents. In addition, the device was installed in the connective-mail about 26 pairs of sockets, which introduced additional connections between the drums, thereby increasing the unimaginable number of ciphers to the user's choice (4 x 1026 combinations), which, as far as the modification and improvement of the system increased. The whole function substantially using the concept of electromechanical so-called swiching ciphers.

Henryk Zygalski was born on July 15, 1908 in Poznan in the family of Michael and Stanislawa Kieliszów. Parents ran a tailor's shop by 22, Mielżyńskiego Street. Henry attended the High School of St. Mary Magdalene ( the class of the reformed learning course). He graduated in 1926 in May, written exams May 4-6, and oral 14 and 15 of this month. The chairman of the examination committee was the director Dezydery Ostrowski, and it is composed of: ks. Julian Janicki, Dr. Mieczyslaw Michalkiewicz ( Polish language), Kazimierz Pertek (Latin language), Jan Odroń (Greek language), Alexander Tarnawski (history), and Józef Huss (mathematics and physics). These latter items belonged to the favorite areas Zygalski.

In the years 1926-1931 he studied, like his team-mates cryptologists, mathematics at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Poznan. One of his masters was a professor Zdzislaw Krygowski, co-organizer together with the Division II of the General Staff of the Polish Army, crypyological course.

Zygalski attended a course of cryptology as a student of the third year. In the course of the studies he attended the lectures of Krygowski, in the field of higher algebra and mathematical analysis. The final exam passed 7 December 1931 year with a very good result. He has created a method called “sheets perforated templates”. He was also the creator of the so-called Cryptology bombs, devices to search for variants cipher.

After the evacuation of the center in Pyry, at the beginning of September 1939, Zygalski and his colleagues worked in decryptological centers in France ("Bruno" by Paris and "Cadix" near Nimes). In 1943 in Spain, where he was imprisoned, escaped to Britain, where he took up service in the Polish Armed Forces. He was assigned to the Battalion of Communications of the Commander, he worked in the Polish Center of radio intelligence and decipher in Boxmoor London suburb. After the war, he was a lecturer at the London School of Technology and the University of Surrey. Married to Bertha Blofield, he was childless. He died on August 30, 1978 in London, ashes buried in Greenwood Cemetery Father Commons.


Poznan beginnings of "Enigma"

Existing since 1919 and continuously improved the invention started the development of a new generation of devices. "Enigma" was introduced gradually in all types of weapons by Reichswehr (armed forces of the Weimar Republic). First, in the Navy (already in 1926). Soon, Polish radio monitoring service for the first time noticed the use of a new cipher in the armies of land (July 15, 1928 year). German air introduced "Enigma" 1 August 1935 year, and the political institutions and special services (SS, RSHA, etc.). The police later in September 1937. From October 1935 until the end of World War II, three parts of the German armed forces used a single type of the machine encryption. The whole number of machine "Enigma" made for the German armed forces until the end of the war amounted to tens of thousands. More than 20,000 units were delievered only for Air Force.

The effects of Germany's new encryption method began to be felt very quickly. Polish radio-encryption could not initially deal with the great challenge which became the "Enigma". All known and previously used methods of cryptanalysis did not give a positive result, and soon the work was stopped. The matter became very urgent. It required the addition of new working methods and the reorganization of the intelligence services. Existing in its structure (Section II of the General Staff of the Polish Army) paper radio intelligence led by the Major Franciszek Pokorny, then - in connection with the reorganization of the Department - January 15, 1930. His duties were taken over by Major (later Lt Col) Gwido Langer. The new head - like its predecessor - came from Galicia and served formerly in the Austro - Hungarian forces. In mid-1931 from the combination of paper and radio intelligence Own Cipher Bureau was established. Lt. Col. Langer led the unit the end of September 1939 campaign. The Cipher Bureau had four papers: BS 1 - ciphers own; BS 2 - radio intelligence east; BS 3 - Russian ciphers, and the most important in the thirties BS 4 - dealing with radio intelligence and German ciphers ( led by a man from Wielkopolska, Capt. Maksymilian Ciężki). As part of the organizational structure of the Cipher Bureau operated additional seven listening radio stations  (Warsaw, Lida, Równe, Kolomyia, Starogard, Poznan and Krzesławice near Krakow).

In the leadership of the Department of Radio Intelligence very quickly it was understood that cryptographers who previously tried to solve the cipher 'Enigma', specialized in traditional ciphers would not be able to live up to the new task. It was necessary to involve young employees with appropriate theoretical preparation, who were not burdened by the routine and who would be able to find innovative ways to break the cipher.

The choice of Poznan was made by existing in the capital of Wielkopolska a climate of social and intellectual facilities. Students of the UP recruited mostly from Wielkopolska and Pomerania and  belonged to the generation that even in times of partitioning ended German schools. Young people were familiarized with German mentality. In Poznan University rapidly developed western and German direction of  the research. There worked the scholars who over the years became the leading Polish authorities forming the western thought.

In Poznan University therefore at the turn of 1928/1929 a special cryptological course was created. Prof. Krygowski chose from among his students the last two years, a group of around twenty people. In addition to outstanding mathematical ability, they had to be fluent in German, loyal citizens of the Polish state and had quite difficult to determine, but necessary work qualities of a good cryptographer, such as intuition, meticulousness, patience, orderliness, etc.. The course covered the basics of cryptology and the department of mathematical analysis, which was employed in the art (permutations, probability, etc.). Specialized classes and lectures  were conducted by except prof. Krygowski, reaching for this purpose from Warsaw: Major F. Pokorny, Cpt. Ciężki and M. Eng. Antoni Palluth. The latter was together with his brothers Danilewicz, Ludomir and Stanislaw Leonard (all three graduates of Warsaw University of Technology), co-founder and co-owner of Radio Engineering Plant AVA, created in 1928, performing the orders of the Department radio intelligence in the production of radio engineering equipment. Antoni Palluth, an inhabitant of near Poznan Pobiedziska, a graduate of High School of St. Mary Magdalene was a lecturer on secret military cryptology courses at the end of 1928 years.

Cryptology course took place outside the ordinary course of university classes, twice a week - in the evenings. The classes were conducted in rooms of a two-storey building Commands City by  St. Marcin Street (now Collegium Historicum), near Kaisers Castle, which occupied the ground floor and basement  of the University. The foundation of the training was to select the most talented students, who volunteered to continue later their work in the secret military intelligence center. The course emerged in 1929, a smaller group of young mathematicians who were involved in Poznan Cipher Bureau Division II (Headquarters building of the City). Finally, the group involved: Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Rozycki.  At the end of 1929, it was a systematic work on the solution of the German system "Enigma". Radiotelegram with the captured ciphers delivered from Warsaw by special courier or the listening station in Poznan. Mathematicians have worked  12 hours a week at any hour of their choice. After several months of work results were very promising. It was decided to continue in the Warsaw headquarters of the intelligence. On September 1, 1932 the three brightest cryptographers were transferred to the capital city as the branch in Poznan was closed. They worked from now on in the Cipher Bureau of the General Staff, located in the non-existent today, the building at Saxon Square (the Marshal Piłsudzki).

Delivered by French intelligence information allowed confirming the validity of the research chosen by the Polish cryptologists. Above all, confirmed the thesis that the German cipher was a cipher machine type "Enigma". With the commercial version of the device the Polish intelligence got acquainted in detail in January 1929 years. They possessed the complete documentation. There was no doubt, however, that the version used in the German army was more complicated. They seemed also aware of the fact that German cryptographers were constantly improving the system of encoding and transmitting information. In order to facilitate and accelerate further work, it was decided to purchase the German "Enigma" for the purposes of "civilian" used in commercial enterprises.

The purchase was made by Palluth on behalf of the AVA.

In the second half of the year 1932, the works of Poznan cryptologyst came out of the phase of theoretical experiments. The first success was solving the four-letter sea code used in the Kriegsmarine (Navy) relatively not complicated. They were, in fact, cyclically repeated messages from the permanent elements of a meteorological character.

In the last days of December 1932 the whole secret Reichswehr telegram was read for the first time. It was a success proving clearly that the code "Enigma" was broken. The next stage was to build by the company AVA Polish replicas of the device. After several years of further improvements to the coming war, on July 24-26 1939 in the secretive facility in Pyry near Warsaw with Polish achievements familiarized cryptanalysts  from France and England.

Achievements of Poznan mathematicians had great importance during World War II and significantly affected the final result. Enabled reading by the Allied secret military information of the Third Reich and anticipating the actions of the German. It is estimated that it helped to avoid many losses and shorten the war in Europe for at least several years. Poznań mathematicians were not only pioneers of scientific methods of data encoding and co-creators and precursors science. Their work became the basis for the construction of the British first computer in the history (1943), serving initially to decipher.

A kind of summary of the achievements of Poznań mathematicians and cryptographers is how adequate assessment of their work was done by the person most competent in this matter. Gustave Bertrand - working with young Poles for several years (since 1939 was in France their direct superior) - explains, "... to the Polish decriptologists , the only falls all the merit, all the glory. Thanks to their knowledge and their perseverance so great that you will not find equal in any country in the world, we were able to bring this incredible adventure to the technical success ... ".

Author: Grzegorz Łukomski

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