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The Story of Seven-Hundred Polish Children Short Film – 1966 Documentary War

The Story of Seven-Hundred Polish Children

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This 1966 documentary tells the story of 734 Polish children who were adopted by New Zealand in 1944 as WWII refugees. Moving interviews, filmed 20 years later, document their harrowing exodus from Poland: via Siberian labour camps, malnutrition and death, to being greeted by Prime Minister Peter Fraser on arrival in NZ. From traumatic beginnings the film chronicles new lives (as builders, doctors, educators, and mothers) and ends with a family beach picnic. This was the last film from pioneering woman filmmaker Kathleen O'Brien.


Mr and Mrs Sonday were not permitted to leave Russia in 1942. They were faced with a terrible decision: whether to keep the children or part with them and send them out alone to a better life. The three children left and after 17 anxious years they finally managed to locate their parents and bring them out to New Zealand. The past is behind. Now the Sondays are happy to be just another New Zealand family.
– Narrator


Licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution 3.0 New Zealand - CC BY 3.0 NZ

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