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Wednesday, 12 September 2018

President's letter to Dermot Turing






Dear Sir Turing,


I would like to express my gratitude for your work, which brought into the spotlight the important role that the exceptional Polish mathematicians and codebreakers – Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki – played in deciphering the Enigma code. As we all know, it proved crucial in securing the Allies’ victory over Nazi Germany.


It is no coincidence that the role of the three aforementioned individuals was so extraordinary. In fact, the span of time between World War I and World War II was marked by the flourishing of the Polish School of Mathematics – the mathematics community of the Interwar Poland. Its influence over the course of history was monumental. In December 1932, three members of this School, namely Rejewski, Różycki and Zygalski, first deciphered the German Enigma machine, thereby laying foundations for British readings of Enigma codes.


As you note in your new book titled “X, Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken”, for too many years the contribution of the Polish scientists was largely omitted from the mainstream historical narrative about the breaking of the Enigma, and it deserves to be better illuminated and understood. But it is also applicable to a broader historical discourse about the influence of Polish academics in other fields of study, for instance international law.


As Alan Turing’s nephew, it is admirable that you have been able to openly speak up that your uncle’s achievements would have been considerably slowed down, or perhaps impossible, had it not been for the vital accomplishments of the Polish School of Mathematics – such as Rejewski’s bomba or Zygalski’s sheets. You have also admitted that Alan Turing had been praised to such an extent that he overshadowed the role of the Polish cryptographers. By highlighting the contribution of Poles to the work of your uncle, you managed to address this historical fallacy. We are grateful for your endeavor.


It makes me content that thanks to your efforts, as well as those of the families of the cryptographers, and other individuals, the Polish scientists will finally receive the recognition they so deserved.


Yours sincerely,

Andrzej Duda



Sir Dermot Turing

Author of

“X, Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken”


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