The famous white eagle of Poland, Orzeł Biały, one of the best known symbols of Poland, stares outwards to the right in search of truth, whilst its wings are spread out as widely as possible to protect all Poles and people of Polish descent, wherever they may live.
The legend of the Polish eagle is entwined with that of Lech, Poland’s mythical founder. One day, many centuries ago when Lech was travelling across the area now known as Greater Poland, he stumbled upon a nest containing a white eagle and her two eaglets. Lech decided to steal one of the eaglets and raise it for his own. The mother eagle rose in defense, spreading out her great white wings across the red light of the setting sun. She was wounded by Lech’s sword and her red blood began to stain her white feathers. She was clearly prepared to fight to the death to protect her young. Lech was so moved by the eagle’s courage and dedication to her young that he abandoned his attempts to capture an eaglet. In recognition of the eagle’s bravery Lech established the first Polish city of Gniezno, meaning nest at the site and adopted the white eagle as the symbol of the new land. The eagle was assimilated onto the Polish flag where the red background of represents both the red of the sun setting over the Polish plains and the blood and sacrifice suffered by Poles over the years.
The Polish eagle made its historical debut on Polish coins during the reign of King Bolesław I (992-1025). Its use extended in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries when it began to appear on emblems, shields and flags. It would have represented the Poles charging into battle against the German Teutonic Knights in 1410 and at Vienna against the Turks in 1683.
When Poland was torn apart in the eighteenth century, the eagle became a call to arms to unite Poles in the battle for their independence. Ironically, the empires that conquered Poland—Russia, Prussia and Austria—all had black eagles as their symbols. The Polish white eagle, represented hope that their nation’s light would not be extinguished by the darkness of the invaders.
Poland again adopted the white eagle as its official coat-of-arms, on regaining independence in 1918. German invasion and occupation during World War II meant the eagle came once more a call to arms and a sign of hope to represent courage and sacrifice both to the Polish resistance and the government-in-exile, both of which retained the flag.
When Poland fell under Soviet control after World War II, the white eagle suffered one of its worst humiliations—it lost the golden crown that it had worn for centuries. The bare-headed white eagle represented a Poland subservient to the ruling Soviet regime.
After communism fell, the Polish eagle regained its crown in 1990 and was adopted as Poland’s official symbol.
Author The Cypher Bureau-how the Poles solved Enigma
I was particularly thrilled to visit Bletchley Park earlier this year. It was my interest in the Polish Codebreakers and Marian Rejewski in particular which took me to Bletchley.
The memorial to the Polish Codebreakers in the grounds reads:-
“This plaque commemorates the work of Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski mathematicians of the Polish Intelligence Service in first breaking the Enigma code. Their work greatly assisted the Bletchley Park Codebreakers and contributed to the Allied victory in World War II.”
This year The Bombe Breakthrough exhibition opened in Hut 11A. The exhibition will run until 2028 and features the first electro-mechanical deciphering device-the bombe machine invented my Marian Rejewski in 1936, a device combining 6 Enigma rotors which was capable of working through possible settings for an Enigma machine and reaching a solution within two hours.
There is of course something for everyone at Bletchley. The mansion house itself is worthy of a visit, with intricate carved staircase, sweeping entrance hallway with marbled pillars and oak panelled rooms. The mansion was constructed by Sir Herbret Samuel Leon. The British Government moved their on 15thAugust 1939 when the site was established as an ultra secret code breaking base- Station X. All staff were required to sign The Official Secrets Act 1939 and were constantly reminded the importance of secrecy and not to discuss their work with anyone. Not their colleagues, not their spouses, not their friends. At its height, during WW2, there were around 10 000 personal operating from Bletchley and despite some security breaches, the secrecy of the operation was maintained following the war up until 1973 when books began to be published on the subject. Notwithstanding that many of the Bletchley staff took the secret of their codebreaking work with them to the grave. The extraordinary success in maintaining the secrecy of the operation at Bletchley led Churchill to refer to the Bletchley staff as “the geese that laid the golden eggs and never cackled.”
In 1992 Milton Keynes Borough Council declared the majority of the park as a conservation area. The Bletchley Park Trust was formed and the site was opened to visitors in 1993. In June 2014 a substantial renovation project was completed.
Present days guests pass through a guarded barrier with first port of call a war time train station- the method of arrival for many of the staff at Bletchley. As visitors wander the grounds, it is all too easy to drift back in time as the sounds of ancient conversations can be heard, a spitfire drones in the sky above, tennis balls whizz across the tennis courts and voices call from the boating pond.
In the huts, some of which are set up as they were during the war years, wooden desks with sephia figures tell their stories, in another, colossus clanks through her work.
Current exhibitions include Bond at Bletchley which reveals new research into author Ian Fleming’s connection to Bletchley Park and suggest how his work with Navel Intelligence helped inspire the creation of the James Bond books!
The National Museum of Computing is also housed on the Bletchley site. All in all there is a lot to see, however if you begin to suffer information overload-there is always afternoon tea !
author The Cypher Bureau (How the Poles solved Enigma)
In the spring of 1942 following the Nazi invasion of the USSR, Stalin released thousands of Polish civilians, initially deported to gulags or work camps in the Soviet Union following the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939. The released prisoners formed into the Anders Army, which was a Polish unit, and refugees journeying from USSR to Tehran. During a rest stop, one of the refugees, eighteen year old Irena Bokiewicz persuaded one of the Polish solidier’s to trade a tin of meat for an orphaned bear cub. The adopted cub spent the next three months in a Polish refugee camp near Tehran and was then given to a Polish unit, the Second Transport Company which later became the Twenty Second Artillery Supply Company. The unit christened the bear Wojtek, a popular Polish name meaning “joyful warrior.” He soon became of the lads and enjoyed the occasional beer, wrestling with the soldiers and swimming. Wojtek learned to salute, weighing around 35 stone and standing at over six feet tall, this was an impressive sight. The bear soon enjoyed celebrity status and became the unofficial mascot of the unit. He accompanied the unit when it left Iraq to go to Syria, and then on to Palestine and Egypt.
When the unit sailed with the rest of the Polish II Corps from Egypt to fight alongside the British 8th Army in the Italian Campaign, Wojtek was officially drafted into the Polish Army as a private and was listed among the soldiers of the twenty second Artillery Supply Company in order to ensure his place on a British transport ship.
As an enlisted soldier of the company, with his own paybook, rank and serial number, he lived with the other men in tents or in a special wooden crate, which was transported by truck. During the Battle of Monte Cassino, Italy (also known as the battle for Rome in which the Allies sustained heavy casualties) Wojtek helped by carrying 100-pound crates of 25-pound artillery shells, all without dropping a single one. In recognition of the bear’s dedication and bravery, the Polish army approved a depiction of a bear carrying an artillery shell as the official emblem of the Twenty-second Company.
Following the end of The Second World War in 1945, Wojtek was transported to Berwickshire in Scotland with the rest of the Twenty-second Company. They were stationed at Winfield Airfield near the village of Hutton in the Scottish borders..
Following demobilisation on Fifteenth November 1947, Wojtek was given to Edinburgh Zoo,
where he died in December 1963, at the age of twenty one. He received many visits from his former comrades in arms and was a frequent guest on the children’s television program Blue Peter.
Having experienced Soviet repression first-hand, many of the Polish soldiers who had fought for their freedom during the Second World War refused to return to Poland which fell under Soviet control and chose instead to remain in Scotland in exile.
Unveiled on Seventeenth November 2015, a bronze statue commissioned by the Wojtek Memorial Trust was erected in Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens, it presents Wojtek and a fellow Polish Army soldier walking together. The statue commemorates not only the much-beloved bear, but also the Polish soldiers who shared the same harrowing journey and ultimately sought refuge in Scotland.
Author The Cypher Bureau-how the Poles solved Enigma
The twenty seventh of September 1939 saw the birth of the Polish Underground State. It was formed the day before the surrender of Warsaw, the Polish capital, following Poland’s invasion by Germany on the first September 1939 and the Soviet Union later in the month.
The Polish Underground State comprised a number of organisations both military and civilian, bound together by their common loyalty to the Government of the Polish Republic in Exile which continued initially in France, until the fall of France, and then London, England.
The Underground State operated in Poland during the Second World War and maintained communications with the Government in Exile by radio communications and hundreds, perhaps thousands of couriers who carried secret messages.
The Underground State fought for Poland to become a democratic independent state with guarantees in place to ensure equality for minorities and freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to carry out political activity.
During its strongest period the Underground State controlled one of the largest resistance groups to the Nazi regime. The Underground State was unique in that it developed under its civilian wing, educational and social service departments, a propaganda ministry
together with a parliament and judiciary.
The military wing developed into the Polish Home Army or the AK and was of particular significance during the Warsaw Uprising which began on 1stAugust 1944 and continued until 2ndOctober 1944. Despite extraordinary efforts by the Home Army and civilian population the uprising failed, arguably principally as a result of political expediency between the principal Allied Powers. The Soviet Union sought control of Poland after the defeat of Germany. Soviet troops waited on the outskirts of Warsaw but did not go to the assistance of the Home Army.
(Poland had broken of diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union in April 1943 after the discovery of the Katyn massacre. The Katyn Massacre took place in 1940 and was the murder of an estimated 22 000 Polish soldiers, policemen, clergy, officials etc by Soviet troops).
The Polish Government in Exile was not invited to attend either the Tehran Conference in 1943 or the Yalta Conference in February 1945 where Western Allies and the Soviets discussed their vision of post war Europe and the fate of Poland. The Soviet Union introduced their own puppet organisation for the government of Poland following the Tehran Conference and members of the Underground State found themselves persecuted by this communist organisation after the failure of the Warsaw Uprising.
Faced with persecution and unwilling to initiate civil war in Poland the Polish Underground State disbanded on the 19thJanuary 1945.
Much of the history of the Underground State was suppressed whilst Poland was under Soviet control but since the fall of communism, Polish historians have been able to research the history of the movement. There are now statues to the Underground State in Poland and the 27th September has been named Day of the Polish Underground State.
The flag of the Polish Underground State comprised the letter P on a boathook imposed centrally on the Polish flag, the emblem of the state was the Polish eagle and the anthem “Poland is not yet Lost.”
The Polish Codebreaking Team, inspiration for my novel The Cypher Bureau were loyal to the Polish Government in Exile.
#PL100 #WW2 #PLUK18 #Warsaw #BlogFriday #Poland #resistance
For my blog, with 2018 the centenary of Poland’s Independence and the year of publication of my novel The Cypher Bureau, inspired by the life of Marian Rejewski, it seemed appropriate to devote some blogging time to famous Polish people or significant Polish achievements.
As a starting point I googled the top ten most famous Poles to see where my hero figured. Marian Rejewski, as the first person to solve the secret of Enigma, the coding device used by Germany during the Second World War would surely be featured. He wasn’t!
Famous Poles listed include Pope Jean Paul II, Marie Curie nee Sklodowska, (first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physics and first person to win the award twice), Frederic Chopin (composer), Lech Walesa, (founder of Solidarity and Polish Prime Minister), David Ben-Gurion (first Prime Minister of Israel), Roman Polanski, although he was born in Paris (film maker), Helena Rubenstein (entrepreneur).
Surely Marian Rejewski, accredited as the greatest cryptologist of all time, deserves his place. He and his colleagues Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski were awarded posthumously in 2014 the prestigious milestone award by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for an achievement which has changed the world.
How did solving the Enigma code save thousands of lives? Solving Enigma meant that the Allies could read secret Nazi messages during World War II. This ability was particularly important during the Battle of the Atlantic. Britain in pre-war years had imported seventy-five percent of its food. During the war Nazi U-Boats hunted in wolf packs for shipping convoys which they then proceeded to sink ruthlessly. In Britain, a demoralised population under threat of starvation were “digging for victory.” In the summer/autumn of 1940 after the loss of significant material at Dunkirk, many considered the war lost and urged for a peace settlement with Germany. Ability to read Nazi instructions to U-Boats meant that the British bound convoys could avoid the wolf packs and get food to Britain. Without the secret of Enigma the war could have been considerably extended or lost altogether.
Rejewski first solved the code in 1932, an outstanding achievement. Between 1932 and 1939 the Polish codebreakers were reading encrypted messages from Germany. In July 1939 they passed their code breaking secret to their British and French counterparts who at that time had given up completely on breaking the code and had concluded, like the Germans that it was invincible.
When the British discovered the code could be broken they decided, following the example of the Polish Cypher Bureau, to recruit mathematicians for code-breaking instead of drawing from linguists and classicists as had been the practise. Alan Turing, as a brilliant mathematician was recruited to Bletchley Park as a result of the Polish successes and his work and that of the Bletchley team was built on the information which the Polish team had provided. The Polish contribution has been credited with saving the Bletchley Park team two years’ work-a vital contribution at the time.
‘Before Poland fell, you gave the Allies Enigma, the Nazis’ secret coding machine. Breaking the unbreakable Axis code saved tens of thousands of Allied lives, of American lives and for this you have the enduring gratitude of the American people. And ultimately Enigma and freedom fighters played a major role in winning the Second World War.
President George H. Bush 1989 speech at Solidarity Workers Monument Gdansk
If you think Marian Rejewski deserves to make the top ten famous Poles please like and share.
#PL100 #Rejewski #Poland #Enigma #WW2 #history #EnigmaRelay #Polishfestival
g #OnThisDay 1939 A Polish constructed #Enigmamachine was handed to the #British at #Victoria Station #London
Delivering Enigma, the famous coding machine used by Germany during WW2
On 16th August 1939, a Polish constructed Enigma machine was delivered to General Stewart Menzies at Victoria Station in London. The Enigma machine was a gift to the British by The Cypher Bureau in Warsaw, following a successful meeting between The Cypher Bureau’s British and French counterparts on 26th July 1939. They also supplied the French with an Enigma machine. The Cypher Bureau had been successfully reading Enigma messages since 1932 following success by one of their number, Marian Rejewski in breaking the code. Marian Rejewski used mathematics in the form of a theory of permutations, inspired guesswork and material obtained by the French through Captain Gustav Bertrand to successfully break the code. Rejewski was then able to prepare plans for the construction on an Enigma machine, then with these plans AVA electronics factory in Warsaw produced their own machines for use by The Cypher Bureau. The Enigma machine destined for Britain travelled by diplomatic parcel to Paris and was then escorted by a Polish secret agent and Captain Bertrand to the coast. There it was smuggled across the channel in the baggage of an actor. Once on British shores the Enigma machine was recovered by its escorts and delivered to Victoria and the hands of General Stewart Menzies. He took the machine to Bletchley Park where the British codebreakers awaited its arrival with excitement.
Eilidh McGinness blog
THE CYPHER BUREAU
https://www.amazon.co.uk/…/dp/B07C9BB…/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0… of The Cypher Bureau
On this day in July 1939, Polish codebreakers gave the secret of Enigma to their British and French counterparts. Marian Rejewski, acknowledged as the greatest cryptologist of all time, had cracked the code in 1932.
The Poles had enjoyed considerable success in decoding Enigma messages after Marian Rejewski’s achievement but their code breaking success had to kept secret-if the Nazi’s found out they would stop using the code and that route of outwitting the Nazi expansionist agenda would be lost.
In December 1938, the Nazi’s introduced an adaptation to the Enigma machine which made the codebreaking more difficult. The original machine had three interchangeable rotors –now there were five. The increased equipment and manpower required to crack the code were beyond the budget of The Cypher Bureau and they had to look to outside agencies for help.
They contacted their British and French Counterparts to arrange a meeting. The meeting took place at the cypher bureau headquarters in Kabacki Woods just outside Warsaw.
From the Cypher Bureau – Lieutenant Colonel Langer, Major Ciezki, Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski, Jerzy Rozycki.
From Britain- Colonel Stewart Menzies, Alfred Dillwyn Knox, Alistair Denniston
From France-Captain Bertrand, Captain Branquenie.
The British and French reported that they had made no progress in breaking the Enigma code and considered it invincible.
The Poles had a terrible decision to make. Could they risk sharing information?- that would increase the risk of their success being discovered by the Germans. Or should they continue their work in secret-they knew risk of invasion was imminent.
They decided to share the information. The French and British codebreakers returned to their base with information on how to construct their own Enigma machines and full instructions on how to break the code together with the promise of a delivery of an Enigma machine.
“To all commandants of airfields throughout Germany ……….order the apprehension and transportation to Belin, alive or dead ….. of chief of staff Ernst Rohm, ………………..”
The elite Polish codebreaking team, Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Rozycki were stunned into shocked silence as they realised implications of the message they had decoded using the Polish Enigma machine which had been constructed under Marian’s direction.
The intercepted message was of the highest security classification. It was made under the direction of Adolf Hitler, the leader of Germany’s sole political party, the Nazi’s. The message authorised the apprehension alive or dead of many of Germany’s leading political figures. In itself shocking, as this was effectively a death warrant for those named on the list, the instruction swept away hundreds of years of established German jurisprudence- accused persons were entitled to a trial. Removing this fundamental right to a trial was dispensing with, as if of no significance, one of the fundamental rights in a civilised society.
Ernst Rohm was the leader of the Sturmbteiling (SA), the paramilitary branch of the Nazi party. He was known to be a staunch Nazi supporter and one of its earliest members. He had demonstrated himself to be one of Hitler’s supporters.
The appearance of Ernst Rohm’s name on the list indicated both Hitler’s ruthlessness and strength as a political figure. Ernst Rohm as commander of the SA was powerful. The SA enjoyed a degree of independence and could potentially pose a threat to Hitler’s autonomy if there was a divergence in their political views in the future. That Hitler was prepared to order the death of such a high level ally demonstrated both Hitler’s confidence in his own authority and his ruthlessness in that he was prepared to remove even those who posed a potential threat to his power.
Between the 30thJune and 2ndJuly 1934, under Hitler’s direction hundreds of people were apprehended. The death toll estimates are between eighty-five and one thousand.
Many of those apprehended were immediately executed, others were afforded ‘one minute trials’ before being shot by firing squads.
The Nazi party in the aftermath of ‘Operation Hummingbird’ ordered destruction of all documentary evidence of the orders. Attempts were made to prevent true figures of the death toll from being published.
Days afterwards the German legislature introduced a new law legitimising self-defence by the state in the face of treason –effectively retrospective legislation authorising the murders.
Hitler gave a speech stating “Let it be known for all time to come, that if anyone raises his hand to strike the State, he will die.” His actions effectively established himself as “the supreme administrator of justice for the German people.”
He had in the ‘ Night of the Long Knives’ killed of existing opposition and sent a chilling message of intimidation to those who might consider opposition to his vision for Germany in the future.
The Polish codebreakers watched anxiously over the next few days as the Nazi propaganda machine rolled into action and the justifications for the deaths rolled across newsreels. They had accessed the top secret messages. They knew that Hitler had ordered the murder of his fellow Germans, his supporters and those who might pose a threat to his government. These actions told them more clearly than any encoded message that Poland would be dealt with ruthlessly if Germany chose to invade and seek return of her ‘lost territories’. With heavy hearts they intensified their vital codebreaking work.
Author The Cypher Bureau
CROMARTY CRIME AND THRILLERS WEEKEND CROMARTY BLACK ISLE APRIL 2018
Cromarty Crime and Thrillers Weekend is an excellent opportunity to attend courses and listen to crime and thriller writers talk about their books. Cromarty, famous to anyone familiar with the shipping forecast is situated on the Cromarty Firth in the north east coast of Scotland. The historic fishing village, boasting museums in the form of a thatched cottage to writer Hugh Miller and Cromarty Court House which re-enactment ancient trials.
It happens to be one of my most favourite places so I booked as soon as it was possible to do so.
For those who opt for the residential weekend, accommodation is in the Old Brewery with meals and generous portions of wine included. The weekend flew past, opening with a reception dinner which was followed by series of three hugely entertaining whodunits presented by the local drama society. I won’t give details –no spoilers here.
On Saturday I was lucky enough to be able to attend a workshop held by Shona McLean who-as I was able to proudly tell anyone who would listen- was in the same latin class as me at school. Ian Rankin chatted entertainingly and informatively to his editor about the publishing process and then there was an intriguing talk by Mary Ellis about her book, The Other Mrs Walker. The evening entertainment was dinner and a film. On Sunday, I found myself next to Professor Dame Sue Black who is a particular hero of mine, at breakfast, so star struck or what, it was a real privilege to chat to her about ‘the headless corpse,’ episode on Dan Snow’s History Hits. Sue was, in the course of the program, dubbed, much to her disgust by Dan Snow, as a national treasure. The episode concerned of course the investigation into a coffin at Wardlaw Mausoleum alleged to hold the body of Simon, The Fox, Lovat, the last man to be beheaded for treason at the Tower of London. Also, for Outlander fans the very real uncle of fictional character Jamie Fraser. The episode concluded that the body in the coffin was that of a thirty-year-old woman. Simon the Fox therefore has continued to be as wily in death as in life. Whilst it would appear his body lies in the Tower of London, many Fraser enthusiasts believe the wrong coffin was opened and that his body was returned to his highland seat as he wished and lies in one of the other coffins in the mausoleum.
Breakfast over it was a real privilege to listen to the updates on Rosmarkie Man and Prof Dame Sue Black talking about her one and only fictional book –All That Remains- I can’t wait to read it. The weekend closed with presentations my local authors and prize awards for a writing competition. An excellent weekend. Thoroughly recommend it!
E = MC2
Energy can neither be created or destroyed.
And so it is said that the Battle of Culloden is fought, year after year, on the same site, on the anniversary. Ghosts. Trapped forever in a moment. No wonder spirits remain. The Highlanders who fought at Culloden were fighting for their lives, their families, their future, their language and their culture. They lost. And in losing unleashed one of the most horrific periods in Scottish history. The repercussions for the survivors of the battle were brutal. No quarter was given to wounded soldiers. They were executed. No quarter was given to Jacobite sympathisers. They were executed. Men, women, children, the elderly, the infirm. Gaelic, the language of the Scots was outlawed, as was their tartan. The Battle of Culloden ended the Clan system in Scotland and heralded the beginning of the Highland Clearances. Now, ancestors of those who fought return, like salmon seeking their birth place, year on year from around the world, seeking they know not what, but compelled none the less. From the America’s, from Canada, from New Zealand and Australia. That is energy.
Strangely, by coincidence, I too have found myself at Culloden Battlefield on the 16thof April for the last three years. One of my earliest memories is of visiting the battlefield. I have visited the site frequently throughout my life and even now it is a place that never fails to draw me. I find it the most atmospheric place on earth. Second- Loch Ness, Highlands. Scotland. Third- Glencoe, Highlands, Scotland, Fourth-Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA. Not every day of course. But dark days, when clouds grey and black drift across the sky and only rare shafts of light break through, falling like ghostly ladders to the ground below. When the hills around the Moray Firth in the distance are sprinkled with snow and when sheets of sleet bite the skin and the beginnings of a gale begin to howl through the few trees which sprinkle the moor. On days like that, there is no other place on earth like the moor and it is easy to believe in ghosts and a lot more beside.
This year it was sunny and the ghosts, for me, were less evident. I had the particular pleasure of attending a talk by Inverness Library about a selection of ancient books they had discovered in their archives. The books, it appeared had been placed in boxes for disposal and had not been catalogued. When the library was being prepared for renovation the books were discovered and their importance realised. The catalogue of books are unlikely –as a result of their age and fragility to be generally available in the library but are available by appointment by contacting Inverness Library by telephone at 01463 236463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
First hand testimony
Ref 368 The Book of Lamentations of Charles Anon 1746
Ref 2914 The Contrast Anon 1825
Politics and Propoganda
Ref 369 An Answer to the 2ndManifesto of the Pretender’s eldest son Britannicus 1745
Ref 370 Hereditary right not Indefeasible A True Scotchman 1745
Music, Plays and Poetry
Ref 63 The Rise and Progress of the Rebellion. D. Graham 1803
Ref 2571 The Pageant (10 plays) Anon 1939
A collection of sermons Various 1745
The Unexpected and the Unusual
385 Notes on the Swords from the Battlefield Lord Archibald Campbell 1894
The full catalogue of books is available on request from the library.
It was a real privilege to have an opportunity to see the books and listen to the presentation.
Question time at the close of the presentation became quite heated, perhaps surprisingly given that it related to ancient books, but the point was made emphatically that ‘fake news’
is no modern invention.