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The Story of Seven-Hundred Polish Children Television (Full Length) – 1967 Documentary War

The Story of Seven-Hundred Polish Children

Television (Full Length) – 1967 Documentary War

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An excellent story about Pahiatua's Polish Children. My Mama Czeslawa Szach (Krystman) was one of the 733 children. With everything that they endured my Mum to this day still has a wonderful, strong and beautiful spirit. Makes me very proud.
Stasio Krystman

Stasio Krystman

Stasio Krystman 11 Jan 2018 - 04.18pm

Thank you New Zealand. Love from Poland. God bless you

Polish Geezer

Polish Geezer 24 Sep 2016 - 12.03am

We are trying to locate a copy of the full documentation but there only appears to be clips on here. Can anyone help?

Sarah Holbrook

Sarah Holbrook 30 Nov 2014 - 10.58pm

Witam serdecznie

Pozdrawiam gorąco wszystkich Polaków w Nowej Zelandii.

Waldek z Polski

Waldek z Polski 4 Nov 2014 - 02.06am

Wow amazing story - does anyone know anything about Polish House in McDonald Street, Sandringham Auckland?

Eilidh Thorburn

Eilidh Thorburn 8 Oct 2014 - 01.29pm

There will be a special celebration in Pahiatua, NZ in November this year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the children in NZ. This is being organised by the Pahiatua Museum Society who have many records, documents and photos of life in the camp. More information from the Pahiatua Information Centre: Phone +64 6 376 6619.

Bruce Lea

Bruce Lea 12 Aug 2014 - 04.24pm

Greetings all from James in QLD, grandchild of W & M Wypych. Would love to have a vodka with you all some time!


James 3 Mar 2014 - 06.31pm

Hi Tony Wilson,
I'm a Chinese who lives in Poland now and will be NZ soon. I feel the hospitality and kind from Poles during the past 2 years, I love Polish people.
It's so glad to see that your grandfather eventually find a peaceful and happy life in NZ~~~
This museum seems presents many touching stories, and it would be my must-go place in NZ.


Zhou 30 Nov 2013 - 07.12am

My mother Zosha Sobko, Aunt, Marisha Sobko and Uncle Yanik Sobko were all invited to new Zealand with the 700. They endured so much pain in their journey to the promised land. They lost their mother and younger sister in the deportation journey to Siberia. After the Russians gave them their so called freedom my grandfather made sure they were safe and joined the polish forces and fought at Monte Casino, North Africa etc. He located his children after the war and came to NZ to be a family again. Such a chilling story with a happy ending for the lucky 700 that deserves to be told and recorded as part of New Zealand's history. I now carry the family's tradition and attend the reunions. Polish House in Newtown, Wellington has great archival material for those interested.

Tony Wilson

Tony Wilson 16 Oct 2013 - 03.50pm

good film


Armari 29 Jul 2013 - 01.28pm

My mother Leokadia Glogowska and her sister Zofia and brother Ludwik were children who were taken to Pahiatua Camp. On my mothers side there were three children (including myself), 8 grandchildren and now five great grandchildren.

Linda Sloper

Linda Sloper 12 Apr 2013 - 02.53pm

My Babcia, mother, uncle and two aunties were part of this contingent. The little girl in the checkered coat on the station when the train arrived at Pahiatua is my late Aunty, Maria Wozniak and the little girl behind her with the flowers is also my late Aunt, Halina Andrews (nee Wozniak).

Irena Cole

Irena Cole 24 Feb 2013 - 09.36pm

I think my birth father was one of these children I never knew him


Anna 1 Dec 2012 - 04.55pm

A truly moving story, cheers for publishing.
BTW, it end up on Polish equivalent of redit so expect many visitors.
Thank you New Zealand.

Pole from UK

Pole from UK 1 Nov 2012 - 10.53pm

God, this is touching. My grandfather Tadouwicz Jankiewicz was on those very ships that came out to New Zealand back in '44. He died when I was just a baby, and I would like to know more about him, If anyone has information about him could you email me at He worked as a plumber, if that's any help xD

Fynn Jankiewicz

Fynn Jankiewicz 24 Oct 2012 - 11.02pm

PS to Barbara Rudevics:

Others are also looking for Zofia Hendel born 29 April 1929. See and other posts in the Kresy-Siberia Group. Any connection to you?

Stefan Wisniowski

Stefan Wisniowski 20 Aug 2012 - 05.08am

Comment to Barbara Rudevics:
The full list of children is at, however there is no Zosia Hendel listed on it.
Sydney Australia
Kresy-Siberia Foundation

Stefan Wisniowski

Stefan Wisniowski 20 Aug 2012 - 04.56am

Where can I find a list of the children who arrived in Pahiatua Camp. Searching for a girl Zosia Hendel. Urgent!

Barbara Rudevics

Barbara Rudevics 18 Jul 2012 - 02.11am

That was a really good clip. I am writing a story about this subject and it has been great help to learn more about what happened to the children that came over to New Zealand during world war 2. Those were some brave children that took that trip from Poland to New Zealand.


Rachel 2 May 2012 - 04.06pm

Consider the following comparisons -
During WWII the UK took in about 10,000 child refugees and the US took in about 1400. Proportional to the respective total populations at that time, New Zealand took in twice as many as the UK and 40 times as many as the US. Another example of why New Zealanders can stand proud.

Charles Eggen

Charles Eggen 16 Mar 2012 - 11.03am

What an amazing story of courage and hope. I wonder if sir Peter Jackson or Steven Spielberg would make this into a movie - as it would be of major benefit to their descendants and to the new generations here today and yet to come. Thank you for providing this tragic yet beautiful and powerful story.


Jenny 1 Jan 2012 - 12.59pm

Thank you Paul, I will look into that. Amiee

Amiee Abernethy

Amiee Abernethy 25 Sep 2011 - 08.16pm

@Karol, @Amie: Paul from NZ On Screen here. We only have the rights to stream the film on the website. It is part of the National Film Unit collection that is in the stewardship of Archives New Zealand. I'm sure it would be possible to order a DVD from Archives NZ, but you may have to pay for the costs. Click on the 'buy' tab above (below right of the player) for their contact details. The film is indeed a moving account of epic journey that your ancestors underwent.

Paul Ward

Paul Ward (NZ On Screen team) 12 Sep 2011 - 08.46pm

Hi again, the movie can be downloaded but not sure with the new copyright laws. NZ On Screen would need to say if they can release this on DVD for people interested. I have had several from overseas asking about this - so a good idea I think.

Amiee, yes this story is very moving... my aunt talked about the snow, and how they had little to wear, and if you missed the dinner time, you went hungry even more than usual....

Karol Wilczynska

Karol Wilczynska 11 Sep 2011 - 10.11am

That was my Great Aunty in this film talking how her mother was found frozen in the snow. This is the first time I have heard about what really happened. So sad! They don't like to talk about it. I would like a copy for family history.

Amiee Abernethy

Amiee Abernethy 11 Sep 2011 - 03.16am

@Ireneusz There are details about where you can buy this film in the tab above (to the right and below the player) which says BUY IT.
However it is also free to view here from anywhere in the world.

12 May 2011 - 03.13pm

I am polish man who is trying to get this film.
Does anyone have a copy of the film ?
It would be grateful if you help me please.


Ireneusz 22 Apr 2011 - 06.12pm

Wow, there is a short Sean Penn's appearance in the second clip :)


arcadio 28 Dec 2010 - 05.06am

There's also now an online digital version of the book you mentioned Stan "New Zealand's First Refugees: Pahiatua's Polish Children" provided with permission by the New Zeland Electronic Text Centre on their website.

It's free to download and re-use, they even provide it in ePUB format (for ebook readers etc).


Jane Hornibrook

Jane Hornibrook 8 Oct 2010 - 06.10pm

Thank you so much for this gift of history. My mother Wanda and aunt Anna Kozlowska were given new lives in New Zealand. Thank you for the gift of history you have given us, their children. Vicki Olsen

Vicki Olsen

Vicki Olsen 6 Oct 2010 - 02.07pm

Thank you for publishing the documentary. Our family (and there are many of us now) have been watching it all over New Zealand. Our great uncle and grandmother are in the film. While it tugs at the heart to be reminded of such a harsh time in their lives we have prospered in New Zealand. My Grandfather always took the view that no matter what had happened - we were the lucky ones.


Dee 5 Oct 2010 - 09.20pm

Thanks for making this footage available to the public. I want to acknowledge the Polish children, who endured unbearable hardship and crossed to this faraway country, where they created lives for themselves, raised children and become grandparents and then great grandparents.
I see my beautiful polish-kiwi nephews whose Pra-Babcia and Pra-Dzadzio were among those 700, and I am amazed at what the human spirit can rise above - that the brave survivors of such hardship managed to live their lives in a way that led to these bright and wonderful boys, their beautiful mother and loving uncles, their dear grandmother/Babcia.


Huia 8 Sep 2010 - 10.05pm

In reply to Karol, there are books about personal recollections by the former Polish children of Pahiatua who are the subject of this excellent film. One of the most comprehensive is the book titled "New Zealand's First Refugees - Pahiatua's Polish Children" published in 2004 by a group of the former Polish children. It is distributed by Southern Publishing in Auckland and can be ordered through book shops. It is over 400 pages, with over 100 personal stories by the children and by those New Zealanders who were personally involved with them at the time. It has 48 pages of archival photographs.

S. Manterys

S. Manterys 7 Sep 2010 - 11.18pm

Great to see this, my dad never talked about what happened. He ended up in South Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe).
My father made his way to New Zealand in the 1950s after meeting my mum, on his many journeys as a merchant seaman - my mum was born in NZ.
It would be good to be better referenced to the actual stories and the details of the camps that the Eastern Borderlands Polish people were displaced from - forced into labor + concentration camps in the vastness of Russia.
With these people being 'stateless' it was a gesture of humanity from such a small country to take in people/children and whom NZ continues to do so.
More stories like this please and an update - is this on the cards....


karol 6 Aug 2010 - 05.18pm

Very moving and fabulous to be able to access these archives.


cat 12 Jul 2010 - 02.09pm

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