The Theorem That Won WWII

When I was volunteering in Durres, Albania this past January, a young American traveler asked if I liked spy novels.  Oh, yes, absolutely!  He gave me a worn copy of SPYCATCHER, written by Peter Wright, former British  Senior Intelligencer Officer who although he was not giving away national secrets, was being thwarted from publishing his book by the British government.

After many years of legal wrangling and court appearances, in  1987 the High Court at Canberra, Australia dismissed the case and ordered the Thatcher government to reimburse legal costs.

I love the underdog and was really anxious to read this book which proved more detailed and “James Bondish” than the man himself, at times. So if you are a fan of spy novels you might like this one.

3 of the actual participants in the book were Polish University students Jerzy Różycki, Marian Rejewski and Henryk Zygalski, studying in Poznan.  They soon found themselves in the company of others with brilliant mathematical minds, studying in Warsaw in 1932 trying to crack the German ciphers.

I found their monumental markers outside of the “Castle” in Poznan.  Unfortunately there was only a small plaque at the base explaining who they were and what they did.

On the day before the Nazi invasion of Poland the three fled to Romania where they immediately sought contact with the Allies. Originally they turned up at the British Embassy in Bucharest, but having been told to ‘come back in a few days’ decided to try their luck with the French instead. This proved more successful and from there they found themselves in France, working in Cadix, a secret intelligence cell operating in the unoccupied south. With the risk of discovery by the Germans growing greater the team were forced to flee.(from InYourPocket: Poznan Enigma Code Breakers )

After some time they found themselves seeking sanctuary in England they were employed in Boxmoor cracking simple SS codes. This is part of the story of SPYCATCHER.

Although they could be counted among the people who were most dramatically involved in ending the war, they have faded into the shadows. What a shame; and, what a shame for and on the fathers of Poznan to have such a small remembrance of such a huge event to which that their young men contributed.

The Enigma Machine

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