ZYGA. A genius from Poznań

ZYGA. A genius from Poznań

What is generally known about Henryk Zygalski makes him seem more like a marble statue: a genius who invented perforated sheets, which made it possible to read secret messages sent by German armed forces through the Enigma coding machine, and one of the three brilliant intellectuals who, working as a team, managed to defeat the biggest secret of Hitler’s Third Reich. This contributed to the victory of the Allies and to shortening the Second World War by several years.

Zygalski is much less known as an inhabitant of Poznań, the only one among the Enigma codebreakers who lived in the capital city of the Wielkopolska Region. We still do not fully appreciate the fact that he, like no other Poznań inhabitant in the history of the city, had such an indisputable impact on the fate of the world.

We do not know Zygalski as a human being. A man whose youth was marked by intellectual work for the homeland, and adulthood – by painful experiences of wartime, when he was forced to move around and constantly improvise. Throughout his whole life he was trying to find happiness against the odds. Eventually, he managed to find it with Bertha Blofield in Liss in England. It was with her that he spent the best, and certainly the most peaceful, years of his life.

This is the side of Henryk Zygalski that we want to learn more about in 2024 – on the one hand, focusing on the second half of his life when he was a happy and satisfied man, and on the other hand, looking at the earlier, unexplored period when he was a young man living in Poland. At the Enigma Cipher Centre we want to present his less obvious, less known side: as a loving man with a peculiar sense of humour, a traveller, a music enthusiast and a life philosopher; as a man filled with passion for life, making the most of it as a grown man, trying to make up for all that the war had robbed him of during his youth.

“ZYGA. A genius from Poznań” – this is the title which the Enigma Cipher Centre is going to use in 2024 for a programme of events dedicated to Henryk Zygalski. You will have a chance to learn more about Zygalski by visiting the Centre and our website. The website about Henryk Zygalski will be gradually developed.

Keep up to date and take part!

The Enigma Cipher Centre Team

Discovering Zygalski

Do you know which tenement house was Henryk Zygalski born in? Where did he go to school? What did Poznań and university education look like during the interwar period when he was a young man? How did it happen that Henryk began working for the Polish intelligence? Finally, who was the love of his life?

Here you will find answers to these and other questions. Read our articles:

Henryk Zyglaski in comparison with Polish emigration in post-war Great Britain

Escaping the bombs. September 1939 in Henryk Zygalski’s life

Zyga on a trip. The merry side of the Poznań cryptologist