World War II codebreakers to be honored in St. Paul

Honoring World War II code breakers

Honoring World War II code breakers

A group of men who helped America win World War II will be honored this week in St. Paul.  

A plaque will be placed at a building on Minnehaha Avenue Thursday, recognizing the work of codebreakers and as one of the birthplaces of modern computers.

During World War II, codebreakers were tasked with interpreting German and Japanese electronic communications.

After the war, many codebreakers worked at a St. Paul company called Engineering Research Associates to keep an eye on Russia.

Minnesota author Don Hall organized a project to place a plaque at the building honoring the codebreakers and the company they worked for, which is considered one of the birthplaces of modern computers.

“Their influence is pervasive throughout our current society,” Hall said. “Something like 100 companies perhaps emanated from this, including big ones like Univac, Control Data, and Cray Research. We’re going to install a plaque commemorating the importance of this building. I think the building has a mystical appeal.”

The codebreakers’ work during World War II carries on today as the NSA, the National Security Agency.