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Jerzy Różycki

Jerzy Różycki ca. 1928, some 4 years before joining the Cipher Bureau

Jerzy Witold Różycki (pronounced ; July 24, 1909 in Vilshana, near Kiev – January 9, 1942 in Mediterranean Sea, near the Balearic Islands) was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who worked at breaking German Enigma-machine ciphers before and during World War II.


  • Life 1
  • Family 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5


Różycki was born in what is now Ukraine, the fourth and youngest child of Zygmunt Różycki, a pharmacist and graduate of Saint Petersburg University, and Wanda, née Benita. He attended a Polish school in Kiev before moving with his family to Poland in 1918. In 1926 he completed secondary school at Wyszków on eastern Poland's Bug River.

Różycki studied mathematics 1927–1932 in western Poland, at Poznań University's Mathematics Institute, graduating with a master's degree February 19, 1932. He would later earn a second master's degree from Poznań University, in geography, on December 13, 1937.

In 1929, while still a student, Różycki, proficient in General Staff's Cipher Bureau, headquartered in Warsaw.

From September 1932 Różycki served as a civilian cryptologist with the Polish General Staff's Cipher Bureau, housed till 1937 in Warsaw's Saxon Palace. He worked there together with fellow Poznań University mathematics alumni and Cipher Bureau cryptology-course graduates Marian Rejewski and Henryk Zygalski.

After Rejewski had reconstructed the German military Enigma machine in December 1932, Różycki and Zygalski likewise worked at ongoing development of methods and equipment to exploit Enigma decryption as a source of intelligence. Różycki invented the "clock" method, which sometimes made it possible to determine which of the machine's rotors was at the far right, that is, in the position where the rotor always revolved at every depression of a key. Różycki perished in the Mediterranean Sea on January 9, 1942, while returning to the Cadix center, near Uzès in southern, Vichy France, from a stint at its branch office at the Château Couba on the outskirst of Algiers. His passenger ship, the Lamoricière,[1] sank in unclear circumstances near the Balearic Islands. Fellow victims of the disaster, among the 222 passengers killed, included Piotr Smoleński and Capt. Jan Graliński, of the prewar Cipher Bureau's Russian section, and a French officer accompanying the three Poles, Capt. François Lane.


In 1938, aged 29, Różycki had married Maria Barbara Mayka. Their son, Janusz Różycki, born May 10, 1939, would complete his studies at Warsaw's Academy of Fine Arts and go on to be a member of the Polish fencing team that won a silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

See also


  1. ^ The ship had, appropriately, been christened after a 19th-century French general, Christophe Léon Louis Juchault de Lamoricière, who had been involved in the French conquest of Algeria.


  • Zdzisław Jan Kapera, "People of the Enigma: Jerzy Witold Różycki (1904-42)", translated by Tomasz Laczewski, Appendix A in Kozaczuk and Straszak, Enigma: How the Poles Broke the Nazi Code, 2004, pp. 81–86.
  • Władysław Kozaczuk, Enigma: How the German Machine Cipher Was Broken, and How It Was Read by the Allies in World War II, edited and translated by Christopher Kasparek, Frederick, MD, University Publications of America, 1984.
  • Zdzisław Jan Kapera, "Różycki, Jerzy Witold," Polski słownik biograficzny (Polish Biographical Dictionary), vol. XXXII, Wrocław, Wydawnictwo Polskiej Akademii Nauk (Polish Academy of Sciences), 1989–1991, pp. 523–25.
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