Poland plans to rebuild Enigma-linked palace razed in WWII

WARSAW, Poland — Poland is reviving plans to reconstruct a historic Warsaw palace where the German Enigma machine codes were first cracked in 1932 and which Nazi German occupying forces blew up in 1944.

In a ceremony Wednesday at the site where the Saski Palace stood, President Andrzej Duda handed a law drafted by his office for the reconstruction of the massive 17th century building to the speaker of parliament, for processing.

Duda said that although costly, the project will symbolically close the process of rebuilding the historic center of Poland’s capital from World War II damage. He didn’t provide a cost estimate.

When completed, in 2028, the palace would house culture and history projects. But first, the lower house of parliament and the Senate need to approve the plans.

The palace was repeatedly redesigned and served various purposes. In 1930-37 it housed the Polish Armed Forces’ Cipher Office where in 1932 three mathematicians, Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski, cracked the Enigma encoding machine. This laid the foundations for the wartime breaking of its codes in Britain, which greatly assisted the Allies’ war effort by allowing them to read top-secret German communications.

During the war, the German Wehrmacht had its headquarters at the Saski, or Saxon, Palace. Nazi troops blew it up in December 1944, while destroying Warsaw after a dramatic, failed uprising by the Polish resistance movement.

Today, only the central colonnade remains that contains the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where visiting foreign leaders lay wreaths.

Plans to have the palace rebuilt have been made ever since the war’s end and most recently in the early 2000s, when foundations and some other elements were uncovered. The plan was scrapped among expected high costs, and also because experts said the old foundations were too weak to be built on.