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Warsaw Uprising Commemorations

A beautiful event commemorating the #WarsawUprising and a wonderful tribute to a jointly shared past, today’s friendship between Polish and Jewish institutions and people in #NewZealand as well as future projects aiming at preservation of history and personal memories. 

Polish Ambassador to New Zealand Zbigniew Gniatkowski delivered a powerful speech and Prof. Roberto Rabel shared a personal tribute to his late father Jerzy, one of the great heroes of the 1944 Uprising. Thank you Holocaust Centre of New Zealand for your hospitality and initiative!



The Embassy exhibition ‘Żegota’ was on display at the Holocaust Centre during the commemorations. “Żegota was the Polish Council to Aid Jews with the Government Delegation for Poland, an underground Polish resistance organization, and part of the Polish Underground State, active 1942–45 in German-occupied Poland. Poland was the only country in German-occupied Europe where such a government-established and -supported underground organization existed.  

Żegota helped save some 4,000 Polish Jews by providing food, medical care, relief money, and false identity documents for those hiding on the so-called “Aryan side” of German-occupied Poland. Most of its activity took place in Warsaw. The Jewish National Committee had some 5,600 Jews under its care and the Bund, an additional 1,500, but the activities of the three organizations overlapped to a considerable degree. Among them, they were able to reach some 8,500 of the 28,000 Jews hiding in Warsaw, and perhaps another 1,000 Jews hiding elsewhere in Poland.

 Help in money, food, and medicines was organised by Żegota as well for Jews in several forced-labour camps in Poland.[17]Financial aid and forged identity documents were procured for those hiding on the “Aryan side”. Escapes of Jews from ghettos, camps, and deportation trains mostly occurred spontaneously through personal contacts, and most of the help that was extended to Jews in the country was similarly personal in nature. Because Jews in hiding preferred to remain well concealed, Żegota had trouble finding them. Its activities therefore did not develop on a larger scale until late in 1943.

Żegota played a large part in placing Jewish children with foster families, public orphanages, church orphanages, and convents. Foster families had to be told that the children were Jewish so that appropriate precautions could be taken, especially in the case of boys (Jewish boys, unlike most Poles, were circumcised). Żegota sometimes paid for the children’s care. In Warsaw, Żegota’s childrens’ department, headed by Irena Sendler, cared for 2,500 of the 9,000 Jewish children smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto. At war’s end Sendler attempted to return the children to their parents, but nearly all the parents had died at Treblinka.

Medical attention for Jews in hiding was made available through the Committee of Democratic and Socialist Physicians.[18] Żegota had ties with many ghettos and camps, and made numerous efforts to induce the Polish Government in Exile and the Government Delegation for Poland to appeal to the Polish population to help the persecuted Jews.[2]  ”   Wikipaedia  –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%BBegota

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Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum Information Evening


On Tuesday 15 May, an information evening about the on-line Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum will be held in the library at the Polish House, 257 Riddiford Street, Newtown. This is being run as part of our informal monthly ‘Being Polish in NZ’ meeting. As a group we mostly belong to the descendants of the diaspora who found themselves outside of Poland at the end of World War II.

Of the diaspora, some had been forcibly deported to Siberia before escaping via Iran or were sent to camps in Germany by occupying German forces. Others escaped Poland to join the Polish Army in exile.   We are most familiar with a group of Polish Children who having escaped the Soviet Union to Iran were settled in Pahiatua, New Zealand. They were then followed by family members who had been in the armed forces and remained outside of Poland at the end of the war.  From 1949 the New Zealand government welcomed many Displaced Persons from Germany, Austria or Italy who also came initially to Pahiatua. Teresa Sawicka in ‘Te Ara – the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand’ states “More than 700 Poles were among the 4,500 displaced persons who arrived between 1949 and 1951”. 

The New Zealand story can be viewed at: www.Kresy-Siberia.org/newzealand

Our group would like to extend an invitation to anyone interested in learning about the Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum. “www.Kresy-Siberia.org” which is dedicated to research, remembrance and recognition of Poland’s citizens’ struggle for freedom and survival in the Eastern Borderlands and in forced exile during World War II.

Supper will be provided at the end of the meeting.

Date:  Tuesday 15th May 2018 7pm (19:00 hours)
Where: Library at Polish House (Rhodes Street entrance)
Cost:  Gold coin donation
Contact name and telephone:  Irena Lowe 04 9735839


Polish Constitution Day – 3 May

Polish Constitution Day – Celebrating 3 May


On Sunday, 6 May 2018, we will be commemorating the Polish Constitution (3 May). Mass will be celebrated by Father Tadeusz Świątkowski at both churches: Berhampore at 9.30am and Avalon at 11.30am. The mass at Berhampore will be the official mass with flag bearers representing the Polish Association and the Polish Combatants Association. The Polish Association Executive Committee invites all Poles with their families to the 3rd MAY CELEBRATION which will take place on 6 May 2018 at 3pm at the Polish House. As in previous years,it will be a festive concert with an interesting artistic programme.  The Ambassador of the Republic of Poland will be presenting medals to some of our members. Free entry.

Executive Committee


April 25 – ANZAC Day, Katyn Day, Smolensk

This year ANZAC DAY falls on Wednesday. On this day as every year we will remember Polish soldiers murdered at Katyn and those Poles who died during the Soviet occupation. This month also marks the eighth anniversary of the great national tragedy – the plane crash near Smolensk – in which the President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński and his wife died including the last president of Poland in Exile Ryszard Kaczorowski and other high-ranking representatives of offices of the state. We will pray for the souls of New Zealand and Polish soldiers who died during the First World War; for the souls of the Poles who were murdered by the Soviets during the Second World War and for those who died eight years ago in Katyn having gone there to pay tribute to the thousands of Poles murdered by the Soviets.

ANZAC DAY celebration program – Katyn Day


9am:  Saint Mary’s of the Angels in Wellington

 Mass in the church Mary’s of the Angels in Wellington for New Zealanders and Poles.  Polish flags will be paraded into church by the Polish Association in New Zealand Inc.  and the Association of Polish Veterans.  Wreaths of flowers will be placed at the Katyn plaque.


11am:  Saint Joachim in Berhampore, Wellington

Polish Mass with Polish flags paraded into church by the Polish Association in New Zealand Inc.  and the Association of Polish Veterans.  


1pm:  Traditional Soldier’s Lunch

After the Mass at St Joachim you are invited to the Polish House  for a traditional soldiers lunch. Admission $ 10 – there will be some speeches and awards of the Siberian Crosses followed by a film.