This puzzle was made in New Zealand during World War Two by the Mere Company. What makes this object distinctive is how the puzzle pieces are shaped. The pieces are a mixture of standard puzzle shapes and swastika-shaped pieces. The swastika pieces relate to places on the map where Germany had invaded by 1943. The standard puzzle pieces depict the United Kingdom, where Germany had not invaded.
The puzzle is described on the box as;
The Greatest Jig-Saw Problem of the Age, the PUZZLE of EUROPE. The Nazis have battered their crooked sign into the face of Europe, shattering nearly all of it – except Britain. The task that lies before us is that, whatever the cost, we must – PUT EUROPE TOGETHER AGAIN!
An advert placed by The Times Stationery Shop in the Bay of Plenty Times January 1943 described the mass produced puzzle as “the largest, best inter-locking and most ingenious puzzle on the market” (1943, p. 2).
This puzzle reflected the belief of many New Zealanders who felt war was a destructive act that physically separated people, countries and economies. The puzzle also shows how war had invaded not just countries, but all aspects of life for New Zealanders – including the promotion of patriotism in recreational play.
Accession Number: 2003.251; Jig-Saw Puzzle, Put Europe Back Together Again, WWII
By Loran McNamara
Assistant Curator of Social History, Accoutrements and Medical
The Times Stationery Shop. (1943, January 26). Advertisements Column 1. Bay of Plenty Times, LXXI(13056), p. 2. Retrieved August 12, 2018, from https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/BOPT1943018.104.22.168?items_per_page=10&query=%22put+europe+together+again%22&sort_by=byDA