Events & workshops

Gladiators Free Polish Forces : Polish Battle of Britain
Aug 9 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm


In September 1939 Poland was overrun by the German and Russian, yet the Polish fighting spirit remained unbroken… They were displaced fighting forces, which would exact revenge for the occupation of Poland, fighting first in France, and than alongside with British in almost every campaign in the desert and Western Europe

After 7 years of fighting, many of those soldiers who returned home from the war were arrested , murdered or deported to Siberia by the Soviets who now occupied Poland.

The Free Polish forces will be remembered as the Gladiators who were willing to sacrifice everything to rescue their country.

This dramatised documentary recounts how, during the most decisive phase of Battle of Britain, a single squadron of 34 Polish fighter pilots wreaked havoc on the Luftwaffe, in the process helping to change the course of history and overturning RAF prejudices.

Based on a diary kept by the Pilots of the 303 Squadron.

Belatedly, the Poles were cleared for active service and had an immediate impact. By the time the Battle of Britain was won, they had claimed 126 enemy planes, but as the war ended, their joy turned to despair as they saw their own country handed to Stalin



The Betrayal : Polish Film in Howick
Aug 12 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Ron Jeffery was described by the Gestapo as “one of the foxiest devils in Europe” His wartime adventures as a courier, spy and even executioner have all the hallmarks of a fantastic spy thriller– but it’s all true.

This powerful film uses mix of documentary, rare archive footage and vivid recreations to lift the secrecy on this story of a courageous British born, New Zealander during his time in Europe during WW2

Ron Jeffery  served as a Lance Corporal in the 6th West Kent Battalion and was captured during the Battle of France by the Wehrmacht in 1940. He was transported to prison and then to a camp in Poland. He escaped twice from two camps and finally joined up with the Polish Underground Army in Warsaw.

Using forged documents issued under false Polish and German names, Jeffery began to serve as a courier in the Polish Underground, as a part of several missions to occupied cities such as Vienna, Prague and Budapest.

After WW2, Jeffery emigrated to New Zealand where he ran a business.He compiled his memoirs in the book called “Red Runs the Vistula” published in 1985.

This is his story.


In 1943, Home Army General Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski personally awarded Jeffery the Polish Cross of Valour.

In 1996 Jeffery was awarded the Home Army Cross

In 1995, the President of Poland Lech Walesa awarded him the Comander of the Order of Merit, one of the highest honours the Polish Government can bestow on a foreigner.




Warsaw Uprising 44 & Forgotten Odyssey
Aug 16 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm


‘Battle of Warsaw – Uprising in 1944 / Bitwa o Warszawe – Powstanie w 44’ dir. Wanda Koscia (2005). History of the Warsaw Uprising, the bloodiest military action taken by the only underground army in occupied Europe.

The history of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising presented from the perspective of participants, mainly insurgents who in a lively, involved and emotional way talk about their experiences, fate of their friends and their beloved city. The story is also told from 2 other perspectives, a German soldier, who participated in the brutal suppression of the Warsaw’s quarter Wola and a British pilot and   member of the British Military Mission in Moscow.

Their accounts allow their views to reconstruct a dramatic story of the  uprising and the personal dramas of its participants.Produced in Poland and Great Britain. (47 min)


‘A Forgotten Odyssey’ dir. Jagna Wright (2000). In 1940, after Russia invaded Poland, Stalin deported 1.7 million Poles to slave labour camps in Siberia and Kazakhstan. Only one third of them survived.

They tell their stories. The main destinations of these transports were Archangelsk and Kazakhstan. In some cases, the deportees were just dumped in the middle of a forest and told to build their own shelters. In other cases, they were moved to various collective farms called “kolhozs” (collectivnoye hoziaystvo).

It is estimated that slightly more than 100,000 people were later transported to Pahlevi, Persia, via the Caspian Sea. Roughly half were soldiers and half civilians. This constitutes about 7 percent of all Polish citizens who were in Russia between September 1939 and June 1941.

How many remained in Russia, how many died, how many were allowed to return to Poland after the war can be only speculated. (52 min)

Man of Marble : Polish Films in Howick
Aug 26 @ 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm


In 1976, a young woman, Agnieszka is making her diploma film, looking behind the scenes at the life of Birkut, at how that heroism was created, and what became of him. She gets hold of out takes and censored footage and interviews the man’s friends, ex-wife, and the filmmaker who made him a hero.

The film chronicles the fall from grace of a fictional heroic Polish bricklayer, Mateusz Birkut, who became the symbol of an over-achieving worker in Nowa Huta, a new socialist city created in the 1950’s near Krakow. Dozens of men were lined up in the mud in a food line. There are no women to be seen. The men are housed in barracks. When presented with a single fish on a plate for lunch, they begin spontaneously to pelt the Party Official with the fish and succeed in driving him out. Birkut is one of these workers…

It is a surprise that Wajda would have been able to make such a film, revealing the use of propaganda and political corruption during the period of Stalinism.








Man of Iron : Polish Films in Howick
Aug 30 @ 2:00 pm – 4:15 pm


In 1980, during the strikes in Gdansk, Wajda visited the shipyard. A worker shouted to him “Now you must make a film about our story – ‘Man of Iron.’

The workers thus directly commissioned Wajda’s second film. Its production, from beginning to end, was completed in nine months.

The story unfolds…In Warsaw in 1980, the Party sends Winkel, a weak, alcoholic TV hack, to Gdansk to dig up dirt on the shipyard strikers, particularly on Maciek Tomczyk, an articulate worker whose father was killed in the December 1970 protests. Posing as sympathetic, Winkel interviews people who know Tomczyk, including his detained wife, Agnieszka. Their narrations become flashbacks using actual news footage of 1968 and 1970 protests and of the later birth of free unions and Solidarity.









Polish Film on Thursday: ‘Our Lady of Czestochowa’
Sep 6 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

‘Our Lady of Czestochowa’, is a religious film showing the history of the monastery and sanctuary of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa, Poland. The film takes you on a tour of Poland’s greatest religious shrine, including those places which are not accessible to ordinary visitors. This film helps to  understand the unique phenomenon of the Jasna Gora sanctuary

The Black Madonna Icon is a 122 x 82cm painting on a wooden panel which is shrouded by richly ornamented jeweled robes, legends and miracles.It is believed that Poland is under protection of The Black Madonna painting. A famous Catholic icon celebrated by Polish people on 15th August each year.

Story about a Pilgrimage to Czestochowa, Poland

The tradition of pilgrimages to Czestochowa, a famous Marian sanctuary (also commonly known by the name of Jasna Gora, or the Bright Mountain) is a long and diverse in Poland.

The most characteristic form of devotion is the summer walking pilgrimages to the sanctuary, when people from all over the country set off to walk in organized groups to this very special place. The experience involves hours or days of walking but there’s much more to do than just walk. The friars organize lectures on the way, focusing on various aspects of Catholic spirituality.

Perhaps the most striking feature of such an experience, it is the attitudes of people you inevitably meet on the way. From sharing drinking water or carrying your backpack for a while, to just being there to listen when you need it – but also inhabitants of local villages that pilgrimage passes through offer vast assistance, provide meals and places to stay overnight. Thus the way to the sanctuary becomes at least equally important to finally reaching it – another nice parable to the Christian way of life.

The experience is open to anyone who would like to participate in the  pilgrim  each August. There are some foreign guests – from the US, France, Finland, Philippines. Just bring yourself a pair of comfortable shoes – and you can start walking. Text by Kamila (Warsaw, Poland)


Polish Film:’Karol the Man who became Pope’
Sep 9 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

A 10 year Karol Wojtyla in the 1930’s in Poland, has dreams, many dreams. One by one they are shattered. First, by the loss of his mother and brother. Then by the outbreak of war and the death-fleeing exodus that ensued. And finally by the first sign of Jewish persecution.

These events will mark Karol’s long journey from worker, to poet and to teacher. A journey full of encounters that eventually leads him to become the man we all knew. A man who has marked an era. A man who has made history.

Karol Wojtyla, whose tireless fight for humanity and basic fundamental rights begins with the German invasion of his native Poland in 1939.

Appalled at the brutal treatment afforded his Jewish friends, Karol turns to his religion as a means of making a difference in the world, and with the help of several other like-minded individuals mounts a non-violent, but extremely effective, anti-Nazi resistance.

Ordained as a priest at war’s end, Karol finds himself fighting another form of Godless totalitarianism, this one from the Communists who have overtaken his country.

Ultimately, Father Karol Wojtyla’s noble mission culminates in his being elected as Pope John Paul II in 1978 and it was surely no coincidence that Poland’s liberation was now but a matter of time.

Polish Museum, 125 Elliot St, Howick phone 09 533 3530.

Entry by cash donation or internet banking





AHF Exhibition: Ceramika
Sep 30 @ 12:00 pm – Oct 31 @ 4:00 pm

This exhibition is part of the Auckland Heritage Festival 2018

View delightful styles of Polish ceramics, from hand-painted Boleslawiec blue dot tableware, famous in Europe for several hundred years, to regional Kashubian plates and a vintage folk-art floral teapot.

The other galleries in the museum will also be open.

Entry by Donation to the museum is suggested $10 – $5


Exhibition: Polska
May 2 @ 10:00 am – May 21 @ 5:00 pm

Part of 50 years of Poland NZ diplomatic relationship.

2-21 May 2023.

Hours: Tue-Fri 10-4 & Sun 12-5.

Museum entry by donation.

Group bookings by arrangement (fee applies).

Polish Heritage Trust Museum.

125 Elliot St, Howick, East Auckland.

Ph. 533 3530.


Photography exhibition: Warsaw Uprising ‘44.
May 31 @ 10:00 am – Jun 11 @ 5:00 pm

Buried photographs documenting underground defiance against occupation survived destruction of the city and its inhabitants.

Part of Auckland Festival of Photography 2023 / theme – Resistance.

Held at Polish Museum, 125 Elliot St, Howick from 31 May – 11 June. Hours: Tue-Fri 10am-4pm and Sun 12-5pm. Entry is by donation and groups by prior booking (fee applies). Ph 533 3530. Email: