Maksymilian Ciężki (1899 in Samter, Province of Posen – November 9, 1951; [maksɨˈmiljan ˈt͡ɕjɛ̃ʂki] ( listen)) was the head of the German section of the Polish Cipher Bureau (BS–4) in the 1930s, during which time (from December 1932) the Bureau decrypted German Enigma messages.
In the 1930s, Ciężki, as an army captain, was chief of the Polish General Staff Cipher Bureau's German section (Biuro Szyfrów-4, abbreviated BS-4). This section "broke" (decrypted) German Enigma machine ciphers. Ciężki was also deputy to the Cipher Bureau's chief, Major (later, Lt. Col.) Gwido Langer, and in addition supervised the radio-intercept stations at Starogard in the Polish Corridor, at Poznań in western Poland, and at Krzesławice, near Kraków in southern Poland.
In March 1943, now-Major Ciężki, Lt. Col. Langer, Lt. Antoni Palluth and civilians Edward Fokczyński and Kazimierz Gaca were betrayed by their French guide and captured by the Germans as they attempted to cross from German-occupied France into Spain.
Ciężki and Langer were sent to an SS concentration camp where, during interrogations, they managed to protect the secret of Enigma decryption. They convinced their interrogators that, while the Poles had had some success with solving the Enigma early on, changes introduced by the Germans just before the start of the war had prevented any further decryption.
Palluth, Fokczyński and Gaca — according to Col. Stefan Mayer, prewar chief of the intelligence department in Section II of the Polish General Staff — likewise "were acquainted to the last detail with the... breaking [of] Enigma. They were kept by [the] Germans in most awful conditions [at a time] when [the] Enigma secret was still of great importance for the Western Allies. Langer and his four comrades did not reveal [it] to the Germans, thus [making it possible to continue] exploiting this source of [intelligence] till the end of the war."
Ciężki died in Britain on 9 November 1951.
See also 
|Methods and technology|
Chief of Radio Intelligence
Chief of German Section
German Section cryptologists Wiktor Michałowski
Chief of Russian Section
Russian Section cryptologist
- Władysław Kozaczuk, Enigma: How the German Machine Cipher Was Broken, and How It Was Read by the Allies in World War Two, edited and translated by Christopher Kasparek, Frederick, MD, University Publications of America, 1984, ISBN 0-89093-547-5.
- Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, Enigma: the Battle for the Code, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000, ISBN 0-297-84251-X.