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2010 Consular Report
2010 REPORT OF HONORARY CONSUL
FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
THADDEUS N. TAUBE
January 12, 2011
I am proud to report on my third year of service in the post of Honorary Consul for the Republic of Poland. It is truly a privilege to serve the country of my birth and my adoptive home. Both of my parents and their ancestors lived in Poland, with family lineages reaching back several centuries in time. My parents brought me to the United States on the eve of World War II. It is here in America that I have spent the majority of my life. But both countries have always been special to me, and I am proud to act as a conduit between the two nations.
This report includes:
- Overview of 2010 major goals and activities accomplished
- Month-by-month report on the most important Consular activities
- Projected goals and activities for 2011
The year 2010 marked the 21st anniversary of the fall of Communism and the victory of democracy in Poland and throughout East and Central Europe. Poland's political and economic development in one generation's time is phenomenal. In my travels between the United States and Poland, I am proud to witness a growing willingness on the part of Americans to reconsider their perceptions of Poland and its progress as a diplomatic ally of the United States. Many Americans had written Poland off in the aftermath of the Holocaust and during the Communist era, but today, there is a noticeable shift in American opinion and an interest in visiting the country and experiencing its culture. More than 200,000 Americans are now making the journey to Poland. I aim, in my role as Honorary Consul, to further this positive shift in public attitudes and also to help interested individuals and groups to visit there.
Hence, my goals as Honorary Consul are to:
- Advocate the economic and cultural interests of the Polish people, the Polish government and Polonia with respect to the U.S. government, state and local governments and the greater diplomatic community of the San Francisco Bay Area, and between American people and their enterprises.
- Promote Polish culture and celebrate Polish historical anniversaries in the United States.
- Serve the Polish American community in my designated region and in the United States in general.
- Strengthen relationships between Polish and Jewish Americans and Christian and Jewish Poles.
- Aid visiting Polish citizens who may have legal or medical problems due to, for example, loss of documents, being a victim of theft or having a physical accident while traveling.
Office and Administration
Our office is established at 1050 Ralston Avenue, in Belmont. Here, in San Francisco and elsewhere in the Bay Area, I meet with community members, diplomats and Polish visitors to the area.
My Consular office cooperates closely with Christopher Kerosky, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland in San Francisco, with whom we coordinate and cosponsor a number of activities.
Polish studies scholar Shana Penn, who oversees my family foundation and has a well established reputation in both the Polish American community and Polish society, handles academic, educational, cultural and some diplomatic matters for my Consular office. She also networks with the Polish community in the Bay Area and throughout the US. Ms. Penn's research and involvements with PAHA, PIAST, AAASS, and other professional associations enable her to stay abreast of major intellectual and social currents that may influence or inform the Bay Area's Polish community.
Stephanie Fullen, who holds an Education degree from Stanford, was selected to be a deputy representing my consulate. She is extremely knowledgeable about Poland, diplomacy, protocols, is a fluent speaker of the Polish language, and comes from a prominent Bay Area Polish American family. She worked for the US Embassy in Poland and for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. In her volunteer capacity, she assists in our networking and outreach efforts, helping to raise public awareness of Polish history, culture and society among the Bay Area’s diverse communities.
Summary of Activities
1. Relations with the Consulate in Los Angeles
I am in regular communication with the Hon. Joanna Kozińska-Frybes, Polish Consul General in Los Angeles, and her staff, including Cultural Attaché Malgorzata Cup. With their invaluable guidance, my Consular office and I carry out our goals and activities in the Bay Area and in service of sister activities in Los Angeles.
2. Relations with the Consular Corps and Local Government Officials
My staff and I attend the meetings of the Consular Corps. I also attend meetings of the Consular Corps with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. In that regard, I arranged a special reception for Deputy Mayor of Krakow Kazimierz Bujakowski at the Mayor’s Office in December.
3. Relations with US Government Offices
I am actively involved in a communications campaign to encourage the US Senate to approve House legislation to allocate minimum $5 million to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, currently being constructed in Warsaw.
Honorary Consul Kerosky and I are working on a campaign whereby the US Government would eliminate the visa requirements for Polish citizens to enter the US.
My relationships with outgoing Mayor Gavin Newsom and his staff, particularly Chief of Protocol Charlotte Shultz, are strong. My office co-organizes the annual Polish national flag-raising ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, which is attended by diverse members of the Bay Area community.
In July I met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Hannah Rosenthal, the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, at a press conference in Krakow’s new Oskar Schindler Museum. Secretary Clinton announced a $15 million US Congressional allocation toward preservation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camps.
4. Sister Cities Initiative
I am very proud to report that in collaboration with Honorary Consul Christopher Kerosky, we actively promote the one and one-half year old Sister Cities relationship between Krakow and San Francisco. The relationship, which I initiated in July 2007, was discussed between the two Mayors, their offices and our Consular offices over 18 months. In May 2009, the agreements were prepared and were officially signed in Krakow by Mayor Jacek Majchrowski and, representing Mayor Gavin Newsom, Consul Kerosky and myself, on July 1st, 2009.
In October 2009, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Chief of Protocol Charlotte Mailliard Shultz hosted a reception in San Francisco City Hall honoring the new Sister Cities relationship with Honorary Consul Christopher Kerosky, myself and about 100 other notable San Francisco community leaders. Special guest speakers were Consul General Joanna Kozińska-Frybes and Secretary of State George Shultz. The San Francisco-Krakow Sister Cities relationship is the first such Eastern European relationship for San Francisco.
In July 2010 we held an official celebration of the one-year anniversary of our Sister Cities partnership with a Gala Celebration in Krakow City Hall hosted by Krakow Deputy Mayor Elzbieta Lecznarowicz and attended by Allen Greenberg, US Consul General in Krakow, and Michael Yarne, Economic Development Advisor to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Ninety guests from Krakow and the San Francisco Bay Area attended the reception and dinner.
Consul Kerosky and I have formed a nonprofit organization, called the San Francisco-Krakow Sister Cities Association, which we are co-chairing. We have created a Board, Advisory Council and Committees on Media and Community Relations, Advanced Technologies, Education, Commerce, Art and Culture, Traditional Art, Religious Affairs, and Political and Legal Affairs. We co-hosted several events in 2010 including a Tour of Krakow and Warsaw in July and an Information Technology Conference in December.
Our Sister Cities Arts and Culture Committee helped arrange a December trip to Krakow’s International Theater Festival for the directors of San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.). The visit was the first step in setting up an exchange between A.C.T.’s Masters acting program and the programs of the Drama Academy in Krakow. Arrangements were aided by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, an arm of the Polish Ministry of Culture that brings the best Polish arts to venues throughout the US.
December also marked the opening of a 4-month exhibition of the drawings and illustrations of Arthur Szyk at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. Szyk, a native of Łódź, is a renowned artist in both the US and Poland, celebrated for the political and social commitment in his work and his attention to coloristic effects and details. I was pleased to participate in the support of this important exhibit.
In December, we launched our official Sister Cities Website at http://sfkrakow.org.
5. Media relations
I continue to publish Opinion Editorials in mainstream, Polish and Jewish press in the Bay Area and internationally including the Forward, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and the Jewish Weekly of Northern California on a range of topics that promote the New Poland.
On April 10, as soon as the news broke of the tragic plane crash in the region of Smolensk, Russia, that took the life of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and First Lady Maria Kaczynska and 94 Polish political leaders and loyal patriots, my office immediately responded. We opened a condolence book in the Consulate and sent out email announcements inviting the community to come in to sign their messages of sorrow and support. We placed a major ad in a Northern California newspaper publicly joining with all those in mourning and honoring President Kaczynski, especially in relation to his support of the Jewish renaissance in Poland.
On April 13 we helped organize and host a gathering of remembrance for the deceased Polish leaders in the Stanford Memorial Church. The well-attended interfaith ceremony featured opening remarks by Reverend Scotty McLennan, a prayer by Father Nathan Castle of the Catholic Community, tributes by myself, Professor Norman Naimark, and members of the community, followed by a candle lighting by Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann.
In May, our two area Honorary Consulates sponsored a premiere Bay Area screening of an excellent documentary film about the life of Irena Sendler, “In the Name of Their Mothers,” produced by local filmmaker Mary Skinner. Shown at the JCC San Francisco, the film was very well attended and highly lauded. On the basis of the film’s importance and strength, I arranged to present it to the San Francisco Public Broadcasting Station. After their internal review, they agreed with us that it was worthy of national exposure. The film is now scheduled to be broadcast nationwide on PBS on May 1, 2011, the official National Day of Holocaust Remembrance.
In December, with the support of my Foundation, the Hoover Institution opened the touring exhibition “Katyn: Politics, Massacre, Morality.” The exhibition, produced by Poland’s Council for the Protection of the Memory of Struggle and Martyrdom, chronicles the genocide of Poland’s elites carried out by the Soviet security service in the spring of 1940. The exhibit consists of 43 panels of images and text. Additionally, while at the Hoover Institution, the exhibit has been augmented with selected documents from the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, home to the largest and most comprehensive holdings on modern Poland outside Poland. The exhibit will be free and open to the public through January 29, 2011.
I support a diverse range of cultural, civic and educational activities in the Bay Area that help promote Polish history, culture and society. Events include art exhibitions, academic symposia, publishing and the arts, and local government agencies. For example, in November I co-sponsored a very well attended academic conference at the Graduate Theological Union entitled “Polin: Historical Perspectives/Contemporary Visions” (see November entry, below).
8. Enhance Jewish-Polish relations
I am committed to strengthening relations between Polish and Jewish Americans and between Christian and Jewish Poles, working closely with the Honorary Consul of San Francisco, and engaging the cooperation of the Hoover Institution, Graduate Theological Union, Polish Radio, the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco, and the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco to help cosponsor public events.
In July, I was pleased to be able to present my Foundation’s annual Irena Sendler Memorial Award, in person, to former President of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski at a gala dinner in Warsaw. The award is granted to a non-Jewish Pole who has worked to preserve Jewish heritage in Poland, and is made in memory of the late Irena Sendlerowa, a “Righteous Gentile” who courageously saved over 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. President Kwaśniewski’s bold and historic leadership in Polish-Jewish relations signaled a new chapter in Poland’s political maturation as a democratic nation. Not only did he endeavor reconciliation with Poland’s Holocaust past, he set unprecedented forward-looking policy in establishing federal government support for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, now nearing completion of construction in Warsaw.
In December, in recognition of my “distinguished contributions to the Polish culture and people’s heritage” I was honored with the Gloria Artis Medal, presented to me by Consul General Joanna Kozińska-Frybes on behalf of Poland’s Minister of Culture Bogdan Zdrojewski (see December entry, below).
Next Chapter Project
The Next Chapter Project brings together Bay Area high school students with Holocaust survivors born in Poland in collaboration with genealogy researchers from Warsaw in an innovative learning program that connects young and old, the past and the present, and family birthplaces with their contemporary communities. Students interview survivors from Poland, while Warsaw genealogists provide documentation on 1) each survivor’s family lineage and birthplace in Poland; 2) how the memory of each survivor’s prewar Jewish community is being preserved today; and 3) whether Jewish communities have come back to life in these given cities and towns. The oral histories and documents are assembled and published as individual albums for each of the survivor and student participants; additionally, master collections are archived at Yad Vashem and the Warsaw Jewish Historical Institute, and presented at the annual California Day of Holocaust Remembrance in Sacramento.
The Next Chapter Project is co-organized by Taube Foundation and Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco, along with the Jewish Historical Institute and the Jewish Genealogy & Family Heritage Center in Warsaw, in collaboration with Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco and the Holocaust Center for Northern California.
Poland Jewish Heritage Tours
My Consulate is proud to participate in Poland Jewish Heritage Tours (www.polandjewishheritagetours.com), which commenced in Spring 2008. Poland Jewish Heritage Tours offers customized itineraries, intellectually stimulating experiences and spiritually uplifting heritage tours of Jewish Poland to people of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in learning more about Polish Jewish heritage, their own family histories, and the current revival of Jewish life and culture in Poland. Tours include visits to Poland’s historical sites such as Wawel Castle and the Salt Mines; participation in genealogical field research about family histories; celebrations of religious and secular traditions; meetings with Polish politicians, community leaders and the media; and outings to cultural events and historic commemorations such as the annual April 19th ceremony honoring the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Jewish Genealogy & Family Heritage Center at the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw
The Jewish Genealogy & Family Heritage Center is of critical importance to the Polish and Jewish Diasporas. A complex database for the Center was released this year that makes all JHI collections accessible for the first time in 62 years. It has been designed with special features to locate any information held in JHI’s collections—from archival documents to books, from photos to painted portraits—about a given individual. Family trees will also be included. Our newly created and continually expanding database combines the vast collections of the Institute with other genealogical resources, providing a new tool for individual and academic research. The database, together with the proposed interactive website, will provide never before available materials to online users.
The Center is interactive. Not only do clients get answers to their questions, they are encouraged to share their own materials with the Center. The sole evidence of a family, event or institution is often not found in archives, but in private hands. Such items reflect the fate of families, teaching us in an intimate way about the major trends in Polish Jewish history and bringing that history to life. Thus, the Center also helps recover Polish Jewry’s and Poland’s lost memory.
This is a valuable educational resource for diaspora communities to learn about and connect with their family histories and heritage in Poland, and I actively encourage use of it by my Bay Area constituency.
9. Publications/Educational Resources
Journal: The Fall of the Wall and the Rebirth of Jewish Life in Poland: 1989-2009
This collection of personal essays by twelve leading Jewish thinkers and activists in Poland, representing four generations, provides invaluable insights into modern Polish Jewish history. Each contributor reflects, from their individual generational standpoints and personal experiences, on how their nation’s democratic aspirations made the reclamation of Jewish life possible. It enables us to learn about Poland’s past, present and future from inside the culture, which today is free, democratic and a member of NATO and the European Union, an ally of the U.S. and Israel, and protective of its ethnic minorities.
The journal is available on our websites and is now being sold at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, and at select bookstores in Poland. (A pdf version is attached for your reference.) A Polish-language version is being prepared for release in 2011.
Historical Timeline Brochure: 1,000 Years of Jewish Life in Poland
In appreciation of the millennium of Jewish history and accomplishments in Poland, the Taube Foundation asked Konstanty Gebert, scholar-in-residence of Centrum Taubego in Warsaw (the Polish office of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture), to assemble an authoritative timeline of the significant events of Jewish life in Poland, so often limited in modern-day sensibilities as the site of the Holocaust. Beginning with the arrival of Abraham ben Yaakov in the year 960, the timeline follows the rich and complex Jewish history in Poland through the centuries up to the present day. This timeline is available on our website and is now being sold at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, and at select bookstores in Poland. (A pdf version is attached for your reference.) A Polish-language version is being prepared for release in 2011.
Gazeta, Quarterly Newsletter of the American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies
The American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies (AAPJS) is a sister organization of the Institute for Polish -Jewish Studies in Oxford, England. They were established in 1984 to preserve the history of Polish Jewry on an international basis; disseminate the results of this research by means of publications, lectures, conferences, seminars and documentary films; and focus attention of the American and world public on what is most significant and precious in this legacy of Polish Jewry.
Gazeta, the quarterly newsletter of the AAPJS, is supported by the Taube Foundation in three ways: contribution of articles about activities of the Foundation and of Consul Taube that foster our ongoing and rich connection with Poland; submission of names of friends and associates in the Bay Area for enlarging their subscription outreach; direct support of the publication through an annual grant. Activities of the Honorary Consul are regularly reported in the publication, including activities of the San Francisco-Krakow Sister Cities Association. We disseminate the publication both to Polonia and to American Jewish community leaders.
MONTH-BY-MONTH REPORT FOR THE YEAR 2010
January—Development of the San Francisco-Krakow Sister Cities Association committees and recruitment of community participants to each.
February 1-4—Janusz Makuch, director of the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival, met with academic and community groups in the Bay Area and promoted the 20th anniversary Festival that would take place in the summer.
April 10—Tragic plane crash in the region of Smolensk, Russia, that took the life of President Lech Kaczynski and First Lady Maria Kaczynska and 94 political leaders and loyal patriots. My office immediately responded. We opened a condolence book in the Consulate and sent out email announcements inviting all in our community to come in to sign their messages of sorrow and support. We placed a major ad in a Northern California newspaper publicly joining with all those in mourning and honoring President Kaczynski, especially in relation to his support of the Jewish renaissance in Poland.
April 13—Memorial Service at Stanford Memorial Church for Polish President Lech Kaczynski and First Lady Maria Kaczynska and the 94 political leaders and loyal patriots who perished in the tragic plane crash on April 10th in the region of Smolensk, Russia. The interfaith ceremony featured opening remarks by Reverend Scotty McLennan, a prayer by Father Nathan Castle of the Catholic Community, tributes by myself, Professor Norman Naimark, and members of the community, followed by a candle lighting by Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann.
April 16—Shabbat Dinner honoring the participants in the Next Chapter Project, a program linking Bay Area Holocaust survivors with teenagers, creating a bridge between the Bay Area and contemporary Poland through research provided by the Warsaw Jewish Historical Institute, the Jewish Genealogy & Family Heritage Center and the Taube Foundation’s Jewish Heritage Initiative in Poland.
May 3—Flag Raising Ceremony and Polish Constitution Day at City Hall in San Francisco. Mayor Gavin Newsom, Chief of Staff Steven Kawa and Chief of Protocol Charlotte Shultz hosted the ceremony. The event was co-organized by Honorary Consul Christopher Kerosky and my Consular office, and the Bay Area leaders of Polish groups. More than 30 people attended the morning program.
May 4—Screening of Mary Skinner’s film on Irena Sendler, “In the Name of Their Mothers” was presented at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center with a question and answer forum with the director. More than 200 people filled the auditorium and gave the film a resounding positive reception. Through my philanthropic foundation, I have arranged for the film to have nationwide dissemination through PBS on Holocaust Remembrance Day, May 1, 2011.
May 12—Announcement of the third annual Irena Sendlerowa Memorial Award on the anniversary of her death in 2008. The award “honors Polish men and women who, in the spirit of Irena Sendlerowa, protect Jewish life and promote Jewish cultural renewal in Poland.”
The award is granted to a non-Jewish Pole who has worked to preserve Jewish heritage in Poland, in memory of the late Irena Sendlerowa, a “Righteous Gentile” who courageously saved over 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. This year’s recipient was former President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who was presented the award by Consul Taube at a ceremony and celebration in Warsaw on June 30.
From June 29–July 5, 2009, Consul Taube and the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture led a distinguished group of American civic leaders on a heritage tour of Poland to mark the 20th anniversary of the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival, the 21st anniversary of the 1989 fall of Communism, the birth of democracy, and the renewal of Jewish life. There was much to celebrate on this journey: the first anniversary of the Sister Cities relationship between Krakow and San Francisco (San Francisco’s first Sister City in Eastern Europe); the continued progress in the construction of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews on the sacred site where the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was valiantly fought in 1943; and a half decade of intellectual and material investments by the Taube Foundation and its partners in strengthening Jewish life and civil society through programs in heritage preservation, Jewish studies, genealogy and cultural tourism, youth and adult education, and cultural innovations such as the stunning Galicia Jewish Museum.
The Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow is one of the oldest and largest Jewish festivals in the world. This prestigious cultural and educational event has showcased authentic contemporary Jewish culture from Israel and the entire Diaspora since 1988. In the summer of 2010, more than 30,000 people from around the world came to Krakow to participate in the 247 events featured in the Festival’s 20th Anniversary celebration.
In addition, tour participants participated in a memorial in Krakow City Hall to the late President Lech Kaczynski and First Lady Maria Kaczynska and the 94 political leaders and loyal patriots who perished in the tragic plane crash on April 10th in the region of Smolensk, Russia.
June 30— Presentation of the fourth annual Irena Sendlerowa Memorial Award to Former President of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski. Consul Tad Taube presented the award before an audience of 50 distinguished guests at a ceremony hosted at a premier Warsaw restaurant. Honored attendees included President Kwaśniewski; Hon. Radoslaw Sikorski, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Hon. Lee Feinstein, US Ambassador to Poland; Mrs. Janina Zgrzembska, daughter of Irena Sendlerowa; Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland; and Mr. Jerzy Halbersztadt, Director, Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Former President Aleksander Kwaśniewski was honored for his many initiatives aimed at rapprochement between Poles and Jews. Among his noted accomplishments in this area are: the initiation of the process of restoring Polish citizenship to those who were deprived of it during the Polish People’s Republic, the participation in the 60th anniversary of the pogrom of Jews in Jedwabne, and his ongoing and public support for the construction of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
July 1-5—Continuing events in the Taube Tour included the following:
July 1—Tour of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute and the Jewish Genealogy & Family Heritage Center; cocktail reception at the Wilanow residence of the Israeli Ambassador to Poland Zvi Rav-Ner.
July 2—Tour of Krakow; attendance at various events of the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival.
July 3—Presentation on the Museum of the History of Polish Jews by Director of Exhibitions Dr. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett; attendance at the Closing Night Concert of the Jewish Culture Festival in Szeroka Square.
July 4—Attendance at Press Conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Oskar Schindler Museum where she announced a $15 million US Congressional allocation to the preservation of the Auschwitz Birkenau State Museum.
July 5—Sister Cities Commemorative Dinner honoring the victims of the
April 10 plane crash and celebrating the first anniversary of the San Francisco-Krakow Sister Cities partnership. The Gala Dinner for 100 was held in Krakow City Hall and featured honored dignitaries including Krakow Deputy Mayor Elzbieta Lecznarowicz, US Consul General in Krakow Allen Greenberg and Michael Yarne, Economic Development Advisor to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
July 21-31—Shana Penn, Executive Director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture and Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, presented her research on women in the Solidarity Movement and on the revival of Jewish Culture in Poland at “Poland in the Rockies,” the Polish Studies biannual conference in Alberta, Canada.
July 29—Attendance at a Giants baseball game with the Consular Corps at San Francisco’s AT&T PacBell Park.
August 5—Consular Corps Happy Hour.
September 14—Consular Corps Luncheon held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.
September 27—US State Department and San Francisco Consular Corps Reception held at San Francisco City Hall in honor of the San Francisco Consular Corps and the Honorable Eric J. Boswell, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security and Director of the Office of Foreign Missions.
October 9-13—Shana Penn, Executive Director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw to participate in the Ministry hosted conference, “Public Diplomacy and Polish-Jewish Relations” and to make a presentation in the panel discussion entitled, “Polish-Jewish Relations and the Jewish Diaspora in Europe and the US.” Ms. Penn’s fellow panelists were Prof Shlomo Avineri/Hebrew University, and Serge Cwajgenbaum, Secretary General, World Jewish Congress.
October 9-13—Shana Penn, Executive Director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw to participate in the Ministry hosted conference, “Public Diplomacy and Polish-Jewish Relations” and to make a presentation in the panel discussion entitled, “Polish-Jewish Relations and the Jewish Diaspora in Europe and the US.” Ms. Penn’s fellow panelists were Prof Shlomo Avineri of Hebrew University, and Serge Cwajgenbaum, Secretary General, World Jewish Congress.
Ms. Penn presented the following recommendations:
- A stronger PR focus should showcase the New Poland as being a stable and healthy Democracy
- The Polish Government’s leadership role in financing the construction of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews should also be promoted.
The much-anticipated completion and opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews can illuminate the Government of Poland’s stewardship of Polish Jewish culture and education. The new Museum is symbolic of the Jewish awakening in Poland and a focal point for its development.
The Polish Government’s leadership role in bringing this Museum to life will resonate the world over once the Museum opens its doors. If handled correctly, this will transform relations between the Jewish Diaspora and the Government and citizens of Poland.
- The Foreign Ministry can strengthen the identities of and relationships between the Polish and Jewish diasporas.
Hon. Tad Taube is one of only two Jewish Polish Honorary Consuls in the entire diaspora, outside of Israel. (The second Hon. Consul is in Strassbourg.) Consul Taube’s constituents are Catholic-centric in their Polonia identities. Mr. Taube shares the greater Northern California region with Honorary Consul Chris Kerosky, who is Catholic, and the two Consuls are mutually supportive and cooperative. Their pairing could represent a model for a new kind of diplomacy – one that recognizes and manages the blurred boundaries between the Jewish and Polish diasporas. This new model would emphasize identification with the Polish diaspora by Jews, and identification with a multi-cultural Polish diaspora by Polonia. There are many ways in which this new identity might help improve Polish-Jewish relations in the Polish-Jewish diaspora. Equally important, this could strengthen the role that Polish Americans play in the Polish diaspora, in Poland and also in the US.
October 19—Shana Penn, Executive Director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, was invited by the Polish Consul General in Los Angeles to present her research on women in the Solidarity Movement at a special panel honoring the 30th anniversary of the birth of Solidarity.
October 20—Co-sponsored and attended a dinner in honor of Leszek Balcerowicz, Polish economist, former chairman of the National Bank of Poland, and Deputy Prime Minister in Tadeusz Mazowiecki's government. The reception was held at the home of Caroline Krawiec Brownstone, a leader in the Polish American community, for 30 dynamic guests, including young entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, academics, business owners and community leaders.
November 10-14— Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles.
November 14-15—Co-sponsored a conference at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, entitled “Polin: Historical Perspectives/Contemporary Visions.” The conference was co-sponsored by the American Association of Polish Jewish Studies and was very well attended, with a keynote address by Professor Antony Polonsky and a special lecture by Professor Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs of Jagiellonian University.
November 18-19—Shana Penn led a panel on Cultural Tourism at the annual conference of the American Association of Slavic Studies in Los Angeles
November 29—Attended the opening of the Katyn Massacre Exhibition at a luncheon at Stanford University with Andrzej Kunert, the Secretary General of Poland's Council for the Protection of the Memory of Struggle and Martyrdom.
December 3—Deputy Mayor of Krakow, Kazimierz Bujakowski, was honored at a special luncheon and reception held in the Mayor’s Office at San Francisco City Hall. Honorary Consuls Taube and Kerosky both attended, along with 20 other select invitees.
December 2-7— Our Sister Cities Arts and Culture Committee helped arrange a trip to Krakow’s International Theater Festival for the directors of San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.). The visit was the first step in setting up an exchange between A.C.T.’s Masters acting program and the programs of the Drama Academy in Krakow. Arrangements were aided by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, an arm of the Polish Ministry of Culture that brings the best Polish arts to venues throughout the US.
December 3—Opening of the exhibition “Arthur Szyk: Miniature Paintings and Modern Illuminations” at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. The exhibition of 71 pieces will run until March 27, 2011. Szyk, a native of Łódź, is a renowned artist in both the US and Poland, celebrated for the political and social commitment in his work and his attention to coloristic effects and details. I was pleased to participate in the support of this important exhibit.
December 4-7—The Poland Silicon Valley Technology Symposium was held in Palo Alto under the honorary patronage of Polish and US government officials. The Symposium was a joint effort of the Polish-American Engineers’ Club, the San Francisco-Krakow Sister Cities Association and the US–Polish Trade Council. The goal of the Symposium was to facilitate technology, manufacturing, and trade exchange between US and Polish entities to explore market opportunities and establish business relationships with Poland. Honored guests included Mr. Olgierd Dziekonski, Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the President of Poland; Mr. Dariusz Bogdan, Deputy Minister of Economy; and Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, Mrs. Joanna Kozińska-Frybes.
December 6—I was honored with the Gloria Artis Medal, presented by the Consul General in Los Angeles Joanna Kozińska-Frybes on behalf of Poland’s Minister of Culture Bogdan Zdrojewski. The Gloria Artis Medal is a decoration awarded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland to persons and organizations for distinguished contributions to or protection of the Polish culture and people's heritage.
December 7—A Holiday Reception was held at San Francisco City Hall for the San Francisco Consular Corps.
December 9—Attended this year’s Ambassadors for Humanity Gala Dinner for the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education in Los Angeles. Hosted by Steven Spielberg, the event honored Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation. The Consul General from Los Angeles, Joanna Kozińska-Frybes, was also in attendance.
December 9—75 Eastern European musicians were featured at a Chorale Concert at the Berkeley Hillside Club. Among the presentations was a new carol composed in honor of Krakow.
December 19-21—Shana Penn, Executive Director of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, presented her research on modern Jewish history in Poland to the American Association for Polish Jewish Studies and at the Association for Jewish Studies Annual Conference in Boston.
2011 Projected Goals and Activities
1. In 2011, I will broaden and deepen my office’s community-wide outreach efforts, including expanded use of the media such as the local Polish radio program and Polish-language web pages now in development for my websites; dissemination of Poland-related information; servicing tourism needs of visitors to Poland; encouraging genealogical research; and arranging arts, business and technology connections between Poland and the Bay Area.
2. I will continue my support of Polish institutions, including the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, now well underway in Warsaw.
3. It remains a major objective of my Consular service to promote Poland’s leadership role in the European Union and to publicize what I call “The New Poland.”
4. Many of the various programs that I outlined above, such as the Genealogy Center and Heritage Tourism, illuminate how the New Poland supports its Jewish cultural institutions and its diaspora. The diaspora’s vitality is enhanced by knowledge of its history and family roots and by intergenerational access to information and educational resources.
5. Together with Consul Kerosky, we will continue to host diplomats and ordinary Polish citizens to the Bay Area. We will also strengthen and continue to promote the activities of the San Francisco-Krakow Sister Cities Association.
A sampling of upcoming activities and events follows:
- Annual Polish national flag raising ceremony at San Francisco City Hall.
- Announcement of annual award in honor Polish resistance fighter and Righteous Gentile Irena Sendlerowa on the third-year anniversary of Mrs. Sendlerowa’s death.
- Honor the participants in the Next Chapter Project.
- On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day (May 1) National PBS will broadcast the Irena Sendler film “In the Name of Their Mothers,” which I will publicize.
- My Consular office and family foundation will organize a heritage tour to Poland with distinguished Bay Area guests. Among other activities, we will celebrate the progress being made on the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, visit the Jewish Genealogy & Family Heritage Center of the Jewish Historical Institute, enjoy the events of the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival and explore the beauty of Warsaw and Krakow.
- In June, the American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T., assisted by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, will do a teacher exchange of their teachers and the Krakow Drama Academy.
- In July, through the Sister Cities Association, the Łowiczanie Polish Folk Dance Ensemble will perform in Krakow.
- Tentatively planned: Information Technology Symposium co-hosted with Consul Kerosky and the Sister Cities Program, to be held at Hoover Institution on the Stanford University Campus.
Thank you for your kind review of this Consular Report.
Thaddeus N. Taube
January 12, 2011
C: Shana Penn, Malgorzata Cup