Another journey

26.10.2011

 

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You may wonder what the above map represents? Isn’t this crazy family planning a new route back home via Iran and Siberia? Well, the map needs to be read from west to east following the arrows. The context of the map is quite different from ours; it is sad though somewhat optimistic.

New Zealand being a distant country has always tried to play a role in the world despite its small population.  Recently I learned that Kiwi soldiers fought side by side with the Poles in the battle of Monte Cassino. Meeting a Polish person living here in NZ for over 70 years we learned about yet another proud chapter in the NZ history.

When WWII broke out many Polish children and their families were sent to labor camps in the Soviet Union (Archangielsk and SIberia). Many of them died in the gulag of starvation, beatings and cold. Two years later those who survived were released. They began a tremendous journey taking its own toll. The lucky ones made it to Persia (Iran), where they were hospitalized for months. The lonely children were sent to orphanages.

New Zealand offered shelter to 700 Polish orphans staying in Iran in 1942. After the ordeal of labor camps and horrific walk to the Middle East, they set out on a long sea voyage to the end of the world. This is the story of Jozef Jagiello, whom we met with his wife Joy in New Zealand. The same story we read again today at the highly recommended Te Papa Museum in Wellington.

 

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