The idea to create an institution in Poznań which would commemorate the intellectual achievement of the three graduates of the University of Poznań: Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki, was first suggested in 2010 on Radio Merkury by Szymon Mazur, the station’s journalist at the time. He drew attention to the fact that these three men studied mathematics and cryptology in Poznań under the guidance of Prof. Zdzisław Krygowski. Then, in the Poznań branch of the Polish Army’s Cipher Bureau, located at what was then known as Kościuszki Ramparts, they began work on the new German Enigma codes.
In January 2011 Szymon Mazur drew the attention of Poznań and Wielkopolska councillors as well as of the city and region authorities to this idea. In 2012 and 2013 he filed an application to Poznań Participatory Budget. He also carried out a project titled ‘Living Enigma at St Martin’s Day Parade’ – a float with scouts from Poznań’s 100th Troop who marched dressed as keys of a cipher machine. The float joined the parade two times.
The first symbol commemorating Polish cryptologists in the city space was a monument in the shape of a monolithic triangular prism whose walls were covered in sequences of numbers and letters. The authors of the monument, Grażyna Bielska-Kozakiewicz and Mariusz Kozakiewicz, hid among the letters the names of the Poznań cryptologists. The monument was put up thanks to the initiative of the Poznań Society for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences and was unveiled on November 10, 2007 on the plaza next to the building of Collegium Martineum (called Collegium Historicum at the time). It was there that the building of the military supply depot, where Rejewski, Zygalski and Różycki worked, was located before the war. The monument was funded thanks to a public fundraiser as well as the money from the local government. In 2007 Dr Marek Grajek published a comprehensive monograph titled Enigma. Bliżej prawdy (Enigma. Closer to the truth).
The achievements of the cryptologists from the University of Poznań were also celebrated by the exhibition Enigma. Decipher victory organised and financed in 2010 by the Marshal of the Wielkopolska Region. The exhibition travelled around Poland, Canada, the United States and many countries in Europe.
In 2017, on the 85th anniversary of the breaking of the Enigma code, a declaration of cooperation was signed by the local governments and institutions connected to the subject of Enigma. Apart from the Wielkopolska Region and Poznań, the idea to continue to cooperate in order to promote knowledge of the great Polish cryptologists, their teachers and co-workers was supported by the authorities of Bydgoszcz, Cieszyn, Pobiedzieska, Sosnowiec, Szamotuły District, the city and municipality of Szamotuły, Wyszkowski District, the municipality of Wyszków and the 5th Independent Local Club of the Civic Educational Association.
On January 25, 2018 the outstanding cryptologists were posthumously awarded ‘Alumno Bene Merenti’ medals by Adam Mickiewicz University, which were presented to their descendants and family members.
Poznań councillors noticed and highlighted the potential of the story of Enigma and Poznań cryptologists already in 2006 in the National Development Strategy for the Tourist Product ‘The Royal-Imperial Route in Poznań’ – a document which they passed, defining the direction of development for cultural tourism in Poznań. In 2015 Poznań’s local authorities: Mayor Jacek Jaśkowiak and Deputy Mayor Mariusz Wiśniewski, engaged in the execution of Szymon Mazur’s plan. Mariusz Wiśniewski, who was a councillor at the time and the Head of the Revitalisation Committee, was particularly active. He organised a joint session of several city committees devoted to the issue of the Enigma museum. The councillors backed the idea and in 2014, thanks to Szymon Mazur’s efforts, they appealed to the Mayor, the Marshal of the Wielkopolska Region and the President of Adam Mickiewicz University to take action to create an Enigma museum in Poznań.
The first visible sign of this was the so-called ‘Szyfrokontener’ – a mobile exhibition which from the outside resembled the case of the Enigma cipher machine. It was set up in September 2016 at Święty Marcin Street, close to the Cryptologists Monument. For three years ‘Szyfrokontener’, managed by a group of enthusiasts gathered around Szymon Dąbrowski and Tomasz Orłowski, was promoting the idea to build the Enigma Cipher Centre. It was visited by over 100,000 people from Poland and abroad.
In 2018 Poznań authorities decided that after the building has been put into use, the Enigma Cipher Centre would become one of the brands of TRAKT Cultural Tourism Centre (today’s Poznań Heritage Centre). On February 15, 2018 the City of Poznań, Adam Mickiewicz University and TRAKT signed a tripartite agreement to accord the first floor of the building at Święty Marcin to the Centre. The next step was a partnership agreement, signed on June 4, 2019 by Poznań authorities and Adam Mickiewicz University. The agreement stipulated that the new history-and-education-oriented institution devoted to the history of the breaking of the Enigma code and the history of ciphers, mathematics and computer science would be established inside Collegium Martineum’s building.
At the same time, preparation to manage the investment was under way. In March 2017 New Amsterdam, a company from Cracow, won the tender to create the guiding idea and the technical concept for the future Enigma Cipher Centre. Clerks from the Projects Coordination and Urban Regeneration Office, under Director Grzegorz Kamiński, filed an application to the European Union for funding.
On November 13, 2017 Poznań Deputy Mayor Mariusz Wiśniewski and Marshal of the Wielkopolska Region Marek Woźniak signed an agreement which stated that the project ‘Enigma Museum in Poznań’ would be co-financed by the EU as part of WRPO (Regional Operational Programme of Wielkopolska) for 2014-2020. It met the requirements of Action 4.4: Keeping, protecting, promoting and developing natural and cultural heritage. It was decided that the project would be carried out in cooperation with Adam Mickiewicz University and community organisations popularising the history of the Polish scientific and technological thought. The final amount specified in the application totalled about 30 million zlotys, out of which 10,3 million came from the EU funds and almost 20 million was the City of Poznań’s own contribution.
Construction work and work on the design of the exhibition at the Enigma Cipher Centre were carried out by a consortium of companies including ATREM S.A., Firma Budowlana Eugeniusz Dota and New Amsterdam limited liability company. The agreement amounting to 29,2 million zlotys was signed on November 20, 2019. The renovation work inside Collegium Martineum began in 2020 and was completed in July 2021.
The first version of the exhibition narration was created by Szymon Dąbrowski and Tomasz Orłowski. It was then developed as an exhibition script by Dr Marek Grajek, a cryptologist, initiator of numerous events popularising history and author of publications on Enigma.
At the same time Poznań Heritage Centre’s employees were working from 2018 on the marketing strategy for the new brand – the Enigma Cipher Centre. PHC’s team actively participated in the work on developing the exhibition script and arrangement as well as in consultation regarding the construction and technical aspects of the project. It also created the Centre’s mission and devised plans for its future functioning: events accompanying the exhibition, education programmes, the idea for the multimedia library. Finally, it created and implemented the communication and promotion strategy.
The team, put together by Poznań Heritage Centre’s Director Dr Monika Herkt, was supervised by Bartosz Małolepszy, Poznań Heritage Centre’s Deputy Director. In March 2021 the Enigma Cipher Centre’s Director Piotr Bojarski joined the team.
Poznań Heritage Centre
Design and implementation of the education programme
Design and implementation of the promotional strategy
Design and implementation of the multimedia library
Projects Coordination and Urban Regeneration Office of the City of Poznań
Grzegorz Kamiński – Mayor’s Representative in charge of the EU funds
Krzysztof Wawron – Deputy Director of the Projects Coordination and Urban Regeneration Office
Rafał Brzeziński – Director of the EU Projects and Funds Agency
Marcin Woźniczak – ‘Enigma Museum in Poznań’ Project Coordinator
Martyna Kąkalec – Coordinator of the exhibition work
Szymon Dąbrowski – Expert Consultant
Tomasz Orłowski – Expert Consultant
Krzysztof Tkaczyk – Creative Director, author of the vision and the visual identity
Tomasz Salwierz – Chief Scenography Designer
Michał Kuraś – Graphic Designer
Marcin Węglarz – Graphic Designer
Marta Polańska – IT Designer
Katarzyna Hoszowska – Content Manager
Magdalena Lindström – Production Manager
Magdalena Ślusarczyk – Architect
Mirosław Nyczyk – Architect
Katarzyna Gawdzik – Content Specialist