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After his family perished at Auschwitz, Vogel's Bread founder fled to NZ for new life

The daughter of the mastermind behind Vogel's Bread in New Zealand has spoken about her dad's journey, ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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Johan Klisser’s daughter recounted his World War II plight today, on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Source: 1 NEWS

Johan Klisser, a Jewish refugee, escaped the Netherlands after World War II and arrived in New Zealand in the 1950s.

According to his eldest daughter, Helen, Klisser was forced to rebuild his life in a foreign country with little money.

"His mother, father and younger brother... were transported onto Auschwitz, where they perished," Helen told 1 NEWS.

In 1960, Johan started baking the beloved Vogel's Bread, making 100 loaves a week. 

By the time he sold the business 30 years later, that figure was closer to 500,000 loaves.

"He and my mother are very proud," Helen said.

Their story is one of many being recognised for Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking 76 years since the liberation of Auschwitz.

The focus this year is the importance of refugees in New Zealand.

"They bring diversity of culture, they bring opportunities with them, they open up our world," Holocaust Centre chair Deborah Hart said.

"A refugee comes here with very little and they leave a lot behind."

Hart says its New Zealanders' job to ensure refugees feel welcome.

"Hop across the fence and welcome your neighbour into the neighbourhood."

The number of refugees living in New Zealand has steadily increased in recent years. In 2018, the annual quota was raised from 1000 to 1500.

The quota was due to come into effect in July last year but won't be met due to Covid-19.