Palace Where Enigma Codes Were Cracked to Return to Life

The Nazis destroyed the Saski Palace in 1944
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 7, 2021 12:38 PM CDT
Palace Where Enigma Codes Were Cracked to Return to Life
In this Dec. 9, 2014, file photo, soldiers walk after changing the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the only remaining part of the Saski Palace in Warsaw, Poland.   (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz, file)

Poland is reviving plans to reconstruct a historic Warsaw palace where the German Enigma machine codes were first cracked in 1932 and that Nazi German occupying forces blew up in 1944. In a ceremony Wednesday at the site where the Saski Palace stood, President Andrzej Duda handed a law drafted by his office for the reconstruction of the massive 17th-century building to the speaker of Parliament for processing. Duda said that although costly (he gave no estimate), the project will symbolically close the process of rebuilding the historic center of Poland's capital from World War II damage. Due to be completed in 2028, the palace would house culture and history projects. But the lower house of Parliament and the Senate need to approve the plans first, reports the AP.

The palace was repeatedly redesigned and served various purposes. From 1930 to 1937 it housed the Polish Armed Forces' Cipher Office, where in 1932 three mathematicians, Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki, and Henryk Zygalski, cracked the Enigma encoding machine (this great in-depth read explains how). This laid the foundations for the wartime breaking of its codes in Britain, which greatly assisted the Allies' war effort by allowing them to read top-secret German communications. During the war, the German Wehrmacht had its headquarters at the palace. Nazi troops blew it up in December 1944 while destroying Warsaw after a dramatic, failed uprising by the Polish resistance movement. Today, only the central colonnade that contains the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier remains.

(Read more Poland stories.)

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