In 1932 three young Polish mathematicians and cryptologists changed the course of history. Marian Rejewski together with Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski decrypted the code of Enigma – the machine used by Nazi Germany before and during the Second World War for encryption and decryption of secret information.
After 80 years their work was recognized by the Association of the US Army Military Intelligence Corps Association, which distinguished Marian Rejewski postmortem with the Knowlton Award. On 4 September the Joint Force Training Centre hosted the official ceremony of presenting the Award to Marian Rejewski’s daughter, Janina Sylwestrzak.
“Your father’s new and innovative methods in deciphering the Nazi Enigma machines enabled Allied military intelligence to successfully break enemy communications and contributed greatly to the Allied victory” – wrote representatives of the Allied Command Counterintelligence (ACCI), who nominated Marian Rejewski to the Knowlton Award, in the invitation letter to Mrs. Janina Sylwestrzak. Historians claim that his work shortened the cruelest war in the world’s history by two years and saved thousands of lives.
“It is a great pleasure for us, for the whole JFTC, that we can host an event recognizing a great man who tremendously contributed to the termination of the Second World War” – said Major General Pavel Macko, the JFTC Commander, welcoming the guests. The ceremony of presenting the Award to Marian Rejewski’s daughter took place during the Cyber Counterintelligence Conference held at the JFTC between 4 and 7 September. “It is fitting that we recognize him today as we gather for a NATO Cyber Counterintelligence Conference. The NATO alliance is standing at the edge of a new frontier – the cyber domain. We are at a point in time in the Alliance’s history where cooperation and collaboration is of the utmost importance. We should hold Marian Rejewski as a model for both dedication to his profession and collaboration with his allies.” – highlighted Colonel Laura Potter, the Commander of the ACCI.
“I am truly touched by this ceremony. I did not expect that my father’s work would be recognized also by the United States of America” – said Mrs. Janina Sylwestrzak. “I am sure that he is looking at us from above and he is also very happy.”
Also Major General Pavel Macko congratulated Mrs. Sylwestrzak and paid tribute to her father’s work. Representatives of local authorities present at the ceremony, including Mr. Rafał Bruski, the Mayor of the City of Bydgoszcz (the place where Marian Rejewski lived and worked) as well as Mr. Zbigniew Ostrowski, the Deputy Voivode of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Province, joined to the congratulations and expressed their recognition for Marian Rejewski’s achievements.
The Knowlton Award was established by the United States Army’s Intelligence Corps Association in 1995. The name of the award was given after Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Knowlton – a pioneer in US Army Intelligence. It was created to recognize individuals who have contributed significantly to the success of Military Intelligence. The Knowlton Award’s recipients must demonstrate highest standards of integrity and moral character, display an outstanding degree of professional competence, and serve with distinction.