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"On This Date in History" Calendar

1994: Solomon Kullback Died

Monday, August 5, 2024

5 August 1994: American cryptologic pioneer Dr. Solomon Kullback died. In the photo - Dr. Kullback is standing - second from left. William Friedman is seated, far right, and Frank Rowlett and Abraham Sinkov are standing first and second from the right.

The below excerpt is taken from NSA's Cryptologic Hall of Honor entry for Dr. Solomon Kullback, a 1999 Inductee more about Dr. Kullback's experience and accomplishments in the full entry via the link at the end of the page.

Dr. Solomon Kullback was one of the original three "junior cryptanalysts" hired by William Friedman to work for the U.S. Army's Signals Intelligence Service. For the better part of a decade, Kullback, together with William Friedman, Frank Rowlett, and Abraham Sinkov, constituted the Army's sole effort against the codes and ciphers of potential enemies, and the nucleus of the Army communications intelligence (COMINT) service thereafter.

The original members of SIS were a unique quartet, men who ought to be national heroes. Their love was as much for the process as the result, the cryptanalysis as the intelligence derived from it, but what they did, the breakthroughs against the high-level code and cipher systems of our principal enemies, surely shortened the period of war by many months and resulted in the saving of thousands of American and British lives.

Years later, in an interview with NSA's oral historian, Solomon Kullback was modest about his accomplishments, but made a telling comment about his activities against German cryptography. He still recalled many of the details of these systems, described them in considerable detail, and commented: "They were a lot of fun."


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