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New Zealand's First Refugees: Pahiatua's Polish Children


In the late 1980s, I attended a course run by the Department of Internal Affairs on citizenship work and one of the instructors was Stefania Zawada. During our course, she enquired where we were all going in the world. When I said Iran, she made a quiet mention of the fact that her husband's brother had died there but that the family did not know where he was buried. I made a promise to look for him.

Stefania came back the next day with a small piece of paper, which said: "Claire, my husband was overjoyed that you might be able to locate his brother's grave. My husband's brother died in Tehran mid-1942. A photo of the grave would be appreciated."

So, armed with that small piece of information and some knowledge about the Polish children, the story unfolded as set out in my letter to her from Tehran on 14 November 1987: