Cryptologists who initially broke Enigma code buried in National Pantheon

Urns symbolising three Polish mathematicians who helped break the code of Enigma machine, have been placed in the National Pantheon.

“Their decision was influenced by patriotism, which was so important back then. They did it for Poland,” said father Jacek Urban during the mass held for the burial.

The urns of cryptologists Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski, were buried in the Saints Peter and Paul Church in Kraków, where a National Pantheon for Polish scientists and artists was set up a few years ago.

“This is another stage of commemorating the achievements of Polish cryptologists, including my dad. I’m proud of it,” said Janina Sylwestrzak, daughter of Marian Rejewski.

Remains of neither of the three were actually in the urns. Jerzy Różycki died in 1942 during a maritime disaster, his body was never found. Henryk Zygalski lived in Great Britain after the war and remains buried there. Marian Rejewski is buried in the Powązki Military Cemetery.

Enigma was an encrypting machine used extensively by Nazi Germany during WWII. Its code was broken by the British Intelligence during the war. Their effort was helped significantly by the information provided by the Polish Intelligence, which broke the code of one of the earlier iterations of the machine in 1932. Being able to decrypt German communications helped the allied war effort considerably.