28 years ago today Poland sent and received its FIRST email

Despite being a milestone in Polish communications history, the forerunner of the countless millions of emails now sent each day contained just two undramatic sentences that create the impression the sender had little idea that they were about to start a revolution. Joseph Gruenthal / Unsplash

Anybody sending an email today (November 20th) might pause to consider that it was on this day 28 years ago that the first email was sent to Poland.

Sent between 10:57 and 13:25 the pioneering message zipped its way from Copenhagen University to Warsaw’s university science centre (CIUW). 

Despite being a milestone in Polish communications history, the forerunner of the countless millions of emails now sent each day contained just two undramatic sentences that create the impression the sender had little idea that they were about to start a revolution.

“Mr Andrzej, greetings from Copenhagen. All the best to you all at the CIUW,” went the message. 

The Andrzej in question was Andrzej Smereczyński, the electronic network administrator at the university, and he replied with the first email sent from Poland: “Mr Director. There has never been so much joy and so many people in the computer room at CIUW,” he wrote.

The fact that somebody in Poland could receive and send emails in 1990 was testament to the remarkable catch-up in technology Poles had made in just round about 12 months. 

During the days of the Cold War advanced Western computer networks were a closely guarded secret so when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 Poles had to move quickly to embrace the new technology.