Polish with Toledo ties had a hand in stopping WWII
Tue, 18 Sep 2012 21:46:34 GMT —
The enigma machine was a used during WWI and WWII, most notably by Nazi Germany.
It was a machine for transferring coded messages between officers and was considered unbreakable.
"You have so many combinations, that the number of combinations was larger than the number of atoms in the entire universe," says University of Toledo professor Jerzy Jankun.
But the code had been broken prior to WWII by polish mathemeticians.
Just five weeks prior to the outbreak of the second World War, the Polish Cipher Bureau handed their research over to allied intelligence.
"Those guys were able to break this code on a lay, theoretical basis how to do this," says Jankun, who is a first generation Polish American and still carries a thick accent.
He says three men imparticular played a role in the code breaking.
A man named Marian Jejewski was probably the most influential in the code breaking. His daughter was presented with the Kwolton Award on his behalf on September 4th of this year.
Jankun says, "We are very proud that Poles are finally appreciated and can enjoy a proper place in history."
Two other men played a large role in breaking the enigma code. Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Rozycke. The former is a relative of the Professor.
He explains, "The second one was Henryk Zygalski. And Henryk Zygalski was the second cousin of my Grandmother.
He says that without the work of men like these, the Germans would have been that much more difficult to defeat.
"During the second World War, people really believe it shortened the war by quite a few years," Jankun says.
A monument now stands in the city of Poznan, Poland, which is considered Toledo's sister city.
It displays the names of the three men who helped bring down the Nazi war machine.
Jankun says, "It's very important to remember that those guys were first. Those guys were geniuses which make [it] possible to break those codes.