President commends book on Polish Enigma codebreakers

Arkady Rzegocki, Polish ambassador to London. Photo:

Thanks to your effort Polish mathematicians will finally get the appreciation they deserve, President Andrzej Duda wrote to Dermot Turing, author of a book on the role of Polish mathematicians in Britain’s decoding of Nazi Germany’s Enigma cypher system during WWII.

In his letter to Mr Turing, the Polish head of state expressed his gratitude to the British author for his accentuation of the Polish contribution to the Enigma project, and reiterated that in the interwar years the Polish mathematical school was among the most advanced.

President Duda’s letter was read out during the promotion of Turing’s book at the Polish Embassy in London. Its preface has been authored by the Polish Ambassador to the UK Arkady Rzegocki.

In the book, entitled “X, Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken,” Mr Turing stresses that the role of Polish mathematicians in decoding Enigma had been underplayed for years and deserved more attention, and admits that his uncle’s work on the Enigma system would have progressed at a considerably slower pace if not for the Poles.

The author also writes that Alan Turing’s status as the decoder of Enigma overshadowed the Polish mathematicians’ role.

Sir Dermot Turing, a nephew of main Enigma codebreaker and IT pioneer Alan Turing, is a British lawyer and economist.

In 2015, he wrote a biography of his uncle, in which he underscores the instrumental role of Polish mathematicians Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski in the breaking of the Enigma code.