Discover the story of children of Pahiatua

2nd June | 5:30 PM
Overcoming Fate
Venue: cinema hall

Do you know the story of 733 Polish children, who found refuge in New Zealand during World War II? See the Overcoming Fate documentary, which shows their moving stories. Before the screening, there will be a meeting with Marek Lechowicz, the director of the film, and Stanisław Manterys, the editor of a book of memories and one of the Pahiatua refugees.

In 1944, the New Zealand government invited 733 Polish children and 102 caretakers to Pahiatua. The kids, most of whom were orphans, came from Polish families, who were exiled to the East, by the Soviets. After the evacuation of Anders’ Army and tens of thousands of civilians from Soviet Union, they ended up in Iran. Difficult conditions made the Polish authorities in London seek a safer refuge for them. New Zealand offered help.

The young refugees not only found a safe haven in Pahiatua. They had a possibility to study in Polish. A camp under the name of Little Poland was created for them. In spite of the efforts of the Polish communist authorities, New Zealand made it possible for the children of Pahiatua to stay there.

Before the screening, we will talk to Stanisłwa Manterys, who was one of the Pahiatua children. Years later, he collected the memories of the young refugees in the New Zealand’s First Refugees: Pahiatua’s Polish Children. The meeting will be moderated by the director of Overcoming Fate, Marek Lechowicz.


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