Polish Embassy Interviews 1st Person to Crack Enigma: Marian Rejewski

I just noticed a series of nine rare interviews were posted in June 2023 by the Polish Embassy in London.

Each has only a couple hundred views on YouTube despite significance of the subject. They feature war hero Marian Rejewski, the 1st person to crack the Enigma code, describing major breakthroughs before and during WWII (which the British rarely, if ever, gave proper credit to Poland):

1) French X, British Y, Polish Z (0:42)

2) Wiretap collection amounts needed to break Enigma (1:00)

3) Breaking the Enigma code in 1932 (0:56)

4) Enigma “banal” A-A-A, Q-W-E keyfinding (1:31)

5) The 1938 “Bomba” machine (1:16)

6) Enigma codebreaking process and how the Bomba automated the work of over 28 codebreakers (1:30)

7) Manual codebreaking with the primitive “grill method” and then the “cyclometer”, processing over 100,000 Enigma key possibilities (26x26x26)6) in a few minutes (1:56)

Rejewski’s cyclometer generated a “card catalog” using 26*26*26 or 17,576 positions of the three Enigma alphabet rotors in a given sequence. Given six possible sequences, the catalog was 17,576 * 6 = 105,456.

8) Handing over Enigma codebreaking and Zygalski sheets to the British in 1939 (2:07)

9) Polish-British cooperation on Enigma codebreaking. Poles in Paris would send cracked German Enigma keys over wires to Bletchley Park using “almost comical” protection… encrypted with the German Enigma (1:18)

Related: 2023 biography of Rejewski

Where the Poles broke Enigma. The secret Cipher Bureau (Biuro Szyfrów) cryptanalysis operations center in Pyry forest south of Warsaw. Photo from 1938. The British (e.g. Knox) and French intelligence visited, such that Bletchley Park was then rapidly acquired by England and configured in 1939 (to continue operations after Germany invaded Poland).
Polish codebreakers (left to right) Zygalski, Rozycki and Rejewski. Photo from 1938.
Closeup of the text on a 2002 commemorative plaque to honor the first people to break the Enigma code, oddly placed under some trees and behind a brick wall in a quiet and remote spot at Bletchley Park

3 thoughts on “Polish Embassy Interviews 1st Person to Crack Enigma: Marian Rejewski”

  1. It’s amazing how much has still not been told about the Polish contribution to the Enigma enterprise.

    And on the process of decrypting I am still hoping to find out how the “bombs” worked and how they “stopped” after finding the correct rotor settings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.