2012 Consular Report


Submitted January 11, 2013
Honorary Consuls for the Republic of Poland in the
San Francisco Bay Area

  1. Description of the internal situation within the consular region
    1. Internal social and political structure (with an account of the outcome of Presidential, Congressional and important local elections).
      1. Consul Taube and Consul Kerosky are in communication with the mayor of San Francisco, Mayor Edwin Lee. The governor of California, Governor Jerry Brown, is a long-time friend of Consul Taube. The Consuls both know all of the congressional representatives and the State of California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom.
      2. On May 2, Consuls Taube and Kerosky organized and participated in the Flag Raising Ceremony and Polish Constitution Day at City Hall in San Francisco alongside the San Francisco Mayor’s Protocol Officer, Charlotte Shultz. The event was conducted in conjunction with Bay Area leaders of Polish-American groups.
      3. Our Consular offices regularly attend the meetings of the Consular Corps. On February 28, Consular Deputy Mary Kay Stuvland was Consul Taube’s representative at the Consular Corps briefing about the 34th America’s Cup held at San Francisco City Hall. Ms. Stuvland represented Consul Taube at additional Consular Corps meetings on March 13, September 11, and November 13. These meetings were led by Omar R. Benjamin, Executive Director of the Oakland Port, Dr. Greg Farrington, Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Jack Citrin, Heller Professor of Political Science at U.C. Berkeley and Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies. On June 12, Consul Taube attended the Consular Corps meeting and luncheon led by John Diaz, Editorial Page Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. Consul Kerosky also attended the Consular Corps holiday reception and gala on December 5.
    2. General situation and economic policy (consequences of the financial crisis).
    3. Elements of the internal situation that may have bearing on or influence Polish interests (e.g. economic, political or social situation, for example unemployment).
    4. Honorary Consul’s relations with the local authorities and institutions (including state members of the House of Representatives and the US Senate), and possibilities of engaging them in the consular work.)

      Visa Waiver Program:

      Honorary Consuls Taube and Kerosky continually meet and correspond with local authorities and institutions as relevant. Of utmost priority is advocacy for the Visa Waiver Program. We have continued our work on a campaign whereby the U.S. Government would eliminate the visa requirements for Polish citizens to enter the U.S. The bill to restructure the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to enable Polish citizens to enter without a visa is entitled JOLT (“Jobs Originated through Launching Travel”), S. 3199, H.R. 5741, introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Joseph Heck (R-NV), respectively. S. 3199 was preceded by S. 2233, introduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). The JOLT Act is currently being considered in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. S. 3199 currently has 23 cosponsors, and H.R. 5741, 30.

      1. Visa Waiver Meetings:
        • On February 26, Consul Taube had the honor of meeting with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
        • In March, Deputy Consul Shana Penn met Ambassador Robert Kupiecki and put him in touch with Senator Feinstein’s office.
        • On April 20, Deputy Consul Shana Penn met with Polish Embassy representatives and with experienced political advocate, Mark Levin, with whom we have partnered to help with the VWP. She also met with Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s representative, Scott Payne, and with the then-incoming U.S. Consul General for Poland, Ellen Germain. 
        • In May, Consul Taube decided that it was time for the U.S. Honorary Consuls to come together to create an action plan on behalf of the Visa Waiver Bill and organized a conference call between many Honorary Consuls and government officials.
        • In May, Consul Taube also had the opportunity to meet with Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Whip (R-CA) to discuss the importance of the VWP.
        • In July, Consul Taube contacted Boyd Smith (contact of presidential candidate Mitt Romney) to brief his campaign organizers of the Visa Waiver Program in advance of Mr. Romney’s July visit to Poland. Consul Taube also encouraged Mr. Romney and his delegation to tour the site of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Mr. Romney and his wife Ann visited the joint site of the Museum and Warsaw Ghetto Heroes’ Monument.  
        • In October, Mark Levin met with U.S. Ambassador Stephen Mull and provided him with important materials about the VWP.
      2. Visa Waiver OpEds
        • Tad Taube: Polish Visa Waiver Supports U.S. Jobs, Key Ally, June 2012, Roll Call (Washington D.C.).
        • Tad Taube: Polish Visa Waiver Supports U.S. Jobs, Key Ally, June 2012, Warsaw Business Journal (Warsaw).
  2. Description of the cooperation with Poland within the consular region
    1. Regional cooperation (e.g. sister cities).
      1. The Consulates play a leadership role in the San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association. The relationship, which Consul Taube initiated in July 2007, was discussed between the Mayors, their offices and the Consular offices over 18 months. In May 2009, the agreements were prepared and were officially signed in Kraków by Mayor Jacek Majchrowski and, representing Mayor Gavin Newsom, Consul Kerosky and Consul Taube, on July 1, 2009. The San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities relationship is the first such Eastern European relationship for San Francisco. Consul Taube and Consul Kerosky co-host many Sister Cities events. Please see the website for further information: sfkrakow.org.
    2. Economic and scientific cooperation (including universities).
      1. Honorary Consul Tad Taube welcomed participants in the “Poland 500 Innovators Program, created by the Polish government and the European Union, which took place at Stanford University’s Center for Professional Development from October 15-December 14. Over the course of five years, 500 Polish innovators will be selected to participate in the spirit of intellectual rigor, entrepreneurship, and cross-cultural collaboration. 
      2. The Poland-Silicon Valley Science and Technology Symposium (PSVST) was held on November 15-17 at Stanford University. The Symposium was organized by the U.S.-Polish Trade Council in cooperation with the Polish-American Engineers’ Club of Silicon Valley and the Council of Polish Engineers in North America. During the symposium, representatives from Poland had the opportunity to gain experience from the world’s leading centers of innovation and to establish cooperation with foreign companies.
    3. Cultural and educational cooperation (e.g. student exchange)
      1. In the first week of September, the Honorary Consulates hosted Hon. Waldemar Dąbrowski, former Minister of Culture, Director of the National Opera, and Plenipotentiary for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (MHPJ). The Consulates hosted a reception in his honor at the home of Ann and Gordon Getty, where Mr. Dąbrowski spoke about the MHPJ. The reception was attended by Hon. Joanna Kozińska-Frybes, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and his wife, Charlotte Shultz, the Chief Protocol Officer for the Mayor of San Francisco, and Aleksandra Kurzak, Polish soprano performing at the San Francisco Opera's season opening performance of Rigoletto. Consul Taube also hosted Mr. Dąbrowski on Opening Night at the San Francisco Opera and Opera Ball, where Mr. Dąbrowski was seated with Mayor Edwin Lee and his wife, Anita.
      2. When the Warsaw Philharmonic performed at the San Francisco Symphony on November 12, the two Consulates hosted a pre-performance gala reception at San Francisco Davies Symphony Hall. The co-hosts for the event were former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. The gala served to strengthen San Francisco-Warsaw relations on behalf of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Several members of the Consular Corps attended the reception and following performance.
      3. Consuls Christopher Kerosky and Tad Taube, together with the San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association and the Taube and Koret Foundations, initiated an academic exchange between the U.C. Berkeley Boalt School of Law and the Jagiellonian University Law School. The program, entitled Berkeley Law School's International and Executive Legal Education (IELE) program, offered a Certificate in American Law to 12 participating Poland law students and young lawyers.

        The Consulates are also involved in promoting an exchange program with Jagiellonian University’s Humanities Program called the Interdisciplinary Program in the Humanities and Social Sciences (IPHSS).

      4. Honorary Consul Tad Taube hosted distinguished guests in a week-long heritage tour of Poland, during which the delegation viewed the soon-to-be completed Museum of the History of Polish Jews, met Polish dignitaries and participated in the Jewish cultural resurgence.
      5. On May 12, 2012, the Honorary Consulates of the San Francisco Bay Area announced the recipients of the fifth annual Irena Sendler Memorial Award. The award, in memory of the late Irena Sendler, is granted to Polish citizens who have worked to preserve and promote Jewish heritage in Poland. This year there were two recipients: Prof. Dr. Maria Janion and Dr. Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs, outstanding academics who exhibit an unwavering dedication to the preservation of memory and the promotion of dialogue between Poles and Jews. Dr. Janion’s award was accepted by Kazimiera Szczuka, well-known literary historian, at an award ceremony at the Parliament hosted by Hon. Wanda Nowicka, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, on July 3. In attendance were Waldemar Dąbrowski, Plenipotentiary for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and Marian Turski, the Museum’s chairman. Dr. Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs received her award on July 4 at the Tempel Synagogue as part of the Kraków Jewish Culture Festival.
      6. The Honorary Consulates of the San Francisco Bay Area hosted Kraków academics and directors of cultural institutions throughout the year:
        1. Dr. Edyta Gawron, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Centre for the Study of the History and Culture of Kraków’s Jews at the Jagiellonian University spoke at the Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, C.A. on November 12, on Holocaust commemoration in Poland. She also spoke at San Francisco State University on the Oskar Schindler History Museum and the Galicia Jewish Museum, and attended a San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Reception in her honor. 
        2. Jakub Nowakowski, Director of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków, came to open the Galicia Jewish Museum’s traveling exhibition, Traces of Memory: A Contemporary Look at the Jewish Past in Poland. Mr. Nowakowski gave the Keynote speech at the exhibition’s opening reception on December 6. The event, which took place at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael, C.A., was co-sponsored by the Polish Consulate General in Los Angeles.
        3. With the San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association our Consulatesco-hosted a reception at the Polish House in San Francisco for the Director of the Kraków Jewish Culture Festival, Janusz Makuch in March, who revisited the San Francisco Bay Area in October.
      7. 2012 Lectures by Shana Penn, Consular Deputy:
        • April 10:Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, C.A.:
          “Resistance Movements, from the Polish Solidarity Movement to the Arab Spring”
        • April 19: “Traces of Memory: A Contemporary Look at the Jewish Past in Poland”
          Exhibit Opening, Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center
          Co-sponsor: The Embassy of the Republic of Poland
        • July 7: Panel, 22nd Annual Jewish Culture Festival, Kraków
          “A New Itinerary: Jewish Heritage Tours to Poland”
          Co-sponsors: New Eastern Europe Journal and the Galicia Jewish Museum
        • December 6, 2012: “Traces of Memory: A Contemporary Look at the Jewish Past in Poland,”
          Exhibit Opening at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael, C.A.
      8. New Publications/ Educational Resources:
        • Field Guide to Jewish Warsaw and Kraków
        • Gazeta, Quarterly Newsletter of the American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies
        • Museum of the History of Polish Jews Promotional Film
        • Fall 2012 Museum of the History of Polish Jews Newsletter
        • Museum of the History of Polish Jews Facts & Figures Sheet
    4. The image of Poland in local mass media.
      1. Interviews and Op-Eds published in 2012
        • Tad Taube Op-Ed: Polish Visa Waiver Supports U.S. Jobs, Key Ally, June 2012, Roll Call.
        • Tad Taube Op-Ed: Polish Visa Waiver Supports U.S. Jobs, Key Ally, June 2012, Warsaw Business Journal.
        • Tad Taube Interview: “Building a Jewish Future: A Conversation with Tad Taube,” July 2012, New Eastern Europe Journal.
      2. Articles published about Consulates’ and Foundation’s Work in Poland in 2012:
        • New Eastern Europe Journal, Spring 2013,“Anchored in the Past, Food for Thought in the Present: Field Guide to Jewish Warsaw and Kraków,” (Dr. Monika Murzyn-Kupisz).
        • JWeekly, December 2012,“Photos of Polish Galicia a Window into prewar Jewish Life.”
        • Fox News, October 2012, “New Museum in Warsaw to Celebrate Centuries of Jewish Life in Poland.”
        • SF Gate, September 11, 2012, “Applause Starts for Symphony’s John Goldman,” (Catherine Bigelow); on Waldemar Dąbrowski, Museum of the History of Polish Jews’ Ministerial Plenipotentiary, and his visit to San Francisco, C.A.
        • eJewish Philanthropy, August 16, 2012, “Are We Guilty of Gross Prejudice Towards Poland?” (David Jacobson).
        • The Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2012, “Big Donations for Museum of the History of Polish Jews,” (Marynia Kruk).
        • Haaretz, July 5, 2012, “Museum of Polish Jews Wins Crucial Donations,” (Associated Press).
        • Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 4, 2012, “Polish Jewish Museum Gets $7 million Grant from Taube, Koret Foundations.”
        • World Jewish Congress, July 4, 2012, “Jewish History Museum in Poland Gains Crucial Donations Ahead of 2013 Opening.”
        • Art Daily, July 4, 2012, “The Museum of the History of Polish Jews wins major new donations, expected to open in the fall of 2013,” (Vanessa Gera, Associated Press).
        • The New York Times, June 5, 2012, “Reasserting and Redefining Jewish Culture in Poland,” (Ginanne Brownell).
        • New Eastern Europe Journal, Winter 2012, “A New Itinerary: Jewish Youth Tours to Poland,” (Shana Penn).  
  3. Consular care extended to Polish citizens
    1. Assessment how local authorities respect consular conventions and bilateral agreements.
      1. N/A
    2. Detentions, arrests, deportations and extraditions of Polish citizens and pertinent assistance of Honorary Consul.
      1. N/A
    3. Assistance extended by Honorary Consul to Polish citizens in emergency situations.
      1. Situations have not arisen
  4. Polish-American issues
    1. General characteristics of the Polish Diaspora in the consular region.
      1. Estimated number of Poles and people of Polish origin who reside in the consular region, including Jewish communities of Polish descent;
        • Number of Poles and people of Polish origin in the San Francisco Bay Area: approximately 115,000
        • Number of Jews of Polish descent in the San Francisco Bay Area: approximately 138,000
      2. Social composition of the local “Polonia” (immigration waves, social, religious and professional characteristics; internal relations between communities);
        • N/A
      3. Migration tendencies (increasing, steady or decreasing: returns to Poland);
        • N/A
      4. Major Polish-American organizations and scope of cooperation of Honorary Consul with them.
        • The following major Polish-American organizations work with the Consulates and have links on Consul Taube’s Honorary Consul website:
          San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association, Polonia San Francisco, Polonia in California, Polish Arts and Culture Foundation, Polish Club, Polish American Congress, Polish National Alliance #7, Łowiczanie Dance Ensemble, Polish American Social Club, East Bay Polish American Association, among others.
    2. Honorary Consul’s cooperation with the Polish Diaspora in the consular region (please list and describe joint activities and mutual projects), including:
      1. support extended to Polish-American organizations and communities, including those engaged in a Polish-Jewish dialogue;
        • Many activities are incorporated into the programs of the San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association, which enables Consuls Taube and Kerosky to create partnerships between non-Polonia civic and cultural organizations and Polonia organizations. Please see the Sister Cities website, sfkrakow.org. The Honorary Consulates also host academic and cultural leaders from Poland at Jewish and Polish institutions to foster Polish-Jewish dialogue, listed within this report.
      2. support of education and youth projects, cultural initiatives and economic projects;
        • Please see Section II
      3. cooperation with the clergy;
        • Consul Taube has a close relationship with the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Rabbi Michael Schudrich.
      4. care extended to veterans and places of national remembrance;
        • Consul Taube is the largest American sponsor of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Built on the historic site of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Museum faces the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes’ Monument. The Museum is in dialogue with the Monument, and together, the two complete the memorial complex
  5. Organization
    1. Structural organization of Honorary Consulate, number of employees and how many speak Polish.
      1. Consul Taube, competent in Polish.
      2. Mary Kay Stuvland, competent in Polish, represents Consul Taube in meetings.
      3. Shana Penn, moderate Polish, represents Consul Taube in meetings.
      4. Lina Broydo, moderate Polish, represents Consul Taube in meetings.
      5. Vilja Fussell, no Polish language.
      6. Vera Hannush, beginning Polish.
    2. Office hours and accessibility of Honorary Consul (e.g. regular office hours and/or on-call availability).
      1. Monday – Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    3. Consulate’s amenities and work conditions, including the possibility of organizing professional consular office hours (including safe and fast Internet connection).
      1. Yes, the Consulates have these amenities and working conditions.
    4. Cooperation with Polish consular and diplomatic missions in the US.
      1. The Consuls cooperate and collaborate with the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Polish Consulates in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
    5. Other conditions determining specific functions of the Consulate (e.g. dispersal of the Diaspora).
      • N/A
    6. Potential capability of Honorary Consul to offer the following services:
      1. attesting authenticity of signature or handwritten mark;
        • N/A
      2. attesting conformity of a copy, excerpt, abstract or photocopy to the presented original or a certified copy of a document;
        • N/A
      3. contracting loan agreements, after prior consultation with a professional consul with regard to form and amount of the financial assistance;
      4. preliminary annual estimate of office expenses related to enlarged scope of services
        • N/A
  6. Proposals and motions
  • Of top priority is advocacy on behalf of the Visa Waiver Program, which will allow Polish citizens to be able to enter the United States without a visa, strengthen Polish American relations and honor the Polish support of the United States’ counterterrorist efforts and global role. We will continue to urge all Consulates to advocate on behalf of the Visa Waiver Program. The Consuls will advocate for the visa waiver both in the U.S. and in Poland.
  • The Consuls will broaden and deepen their 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 Consular 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.
  • Consuls Taube and Kerosky will strengthen and continue to promote the activities of the San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association, including the second season of the exchange between U.C. Berkeley Boalt School of Law and Jagiellonian University (International and Executive Legal Education Program) and the third season of the “Poland 500 Innovators Program.”
  • Consul Taube will continue his support of Polish institutions, including the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, now well underway in Warsaw and scheduled for a Ceremonial Preview on April 19, 2013 and a Grand Opening in 2014.
  • It remains a major objective of the Consulates to promote Poland’s leadership role in the European Union and to publicize “The New Poland.”
  • Many of the various programs outlined in this report 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.
  • Together with Consul Kerosky, Consul Taube will continue to host diplomats and ordinary Polish citizens visiting the Bay Area.