2017 Consular Report


Submitted January 10, 2018

Honorary Consuls for the Republic of Poland
in the San Francisco Bay Area


I. 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. Honorary Consul Taube and Honorary Consul Kerosky were in communication with the Mayor of San Francisco, Mayor Edwin Lee. (Mayor Lee passed away on December 12, 2017.)
    2. 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.
    3. On December 5th, Honorary Consul Kerosky represented the Honorary Polish Consulate at the annual Holiday Party of the Mayor of San Francisco, which took place at the home of Gordon and Ann Getty on Broadway in San Francisco. The event was attended by former President of the Polish Republic, Bronislaw Komorowski, as well as most of the other members of the Consular Corps, and the former US Secretary of State George Shultz, City of San Francisco Chief of Protocol Charlotte Shultz, and Trade Representative Mark Chandler.
    4. Our Consular offices regularly attend the meetings of the Consular Corps in San Francisco, which meet once monthly at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Francisco.
  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.)
    • Hon. Consuls Taube and Kerosky continually meet and correspond with local authorities and institutions as relevant. Of utmost priority is advocacy for increased trade between Poland and Northern California.


II. Description of the cooperation with Poland within the consular region

  1. Meetings with Polish Government officials
    1. On June 28, 2017, Honorary Consul Tad Taube had the distinct honor to meet President Andrzej Duda in the Presidential Palace. This was the first occasion for them to meet in person and to discuss various interests, from their shared native Krakow to their respective patronage of the Jewish Culture Festival, the President’s positive public statements in support of Polish-Jewish relations, the POLIN Museum, strengthening Poland’s international profile, and myriad other issues.
    2. On June 28, 2017, Honorary Consul Taube and Deputy Honorary Consul Shana Penn had the distinct pleasure to meet with Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, First Deputy Minister Michal Glinski to discuss the Jewish Historical Institute, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and special plans to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the passing of Irena Sendlerowa. The Deputy Culture Minister and Honorary Consul Taube are planning to co-host a commemorative program in June 2018.
  2. 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. For further information please see the website: sfkrakow.org; Facebook fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoKrakowSisterCities; and blog: http://citysister.org/. This relationship was recently renewed by both cities.
  3.  Economic and scientific cooperation (including universities).
    1. Silicon Valley Acceleration Center

      Consul Kerosky has continuously worked closely with the Silicon Valley Acceleration Poland (SVAC) Center since it opened in 2013. This continued in 2017.

      Consul Kerosky met with Wojciech Fedko, Vice President of Polish Trade & Investment agency, Rafal Jarosz, Director of the Trade and Investment Section of the Embassy of Poland and Tomasz Sowa, Assistant Director of the Trade and Investment Section of the Embassy of Poland, during their visits to the San Francisco Bay Area.

      Consul Kerosky has prepared and revised a special Guide to Opening a Business in California in both English and Polish languages for SVAC program participants. Consul Kerosky also prepared a Guide to Visas for Businessmen for SVAC participants. Both guides are for use in the business trainings taking place in coordination with the SVAC.

      Consul Kerosky through his assistant Pawel Trela has provided training to SVAC participants as a mentor in corporate, contract and business law in the U.S. as well as advise participants on other legal subjects including visas. Mr. Trela has provided these services on a regular basis at SVAC throughout 2017.

  4. Cultural and educational cooperation (e.g. student exchange)
    1. Consul Taube supports POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews Global Education Outreach Program (GEOP), which in 2017 supported 9 doctoral seminars with 15 participants; 6 fellowships and 7 international interns; 5 travel grants; 5 research workshops and 7 distinguished lectures; 4 conferences; 4 genealogy workshops in cooperation with the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute; and answered 1,142 queries, was visited by 3,750 guests, and added 16,880 records to the genealogical database at POLIN Museum’s Genealogy Center.
    2. Hon. Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundations awarded Wrocław University’s Department of Jewish Studies a multi-year grant, beginning in 2016, to support the renovation of the Department’s new location in Wrocław’s historical center, providing an increased number of classrooms, offices, conference and seminar rooms, as well as the Department’s first designated space for its ever-growing library.
    3. On May 3, Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture trainee and graduate student of Yiddish language, Agnieszka Ilwicka, delivered a talk titled “Love in the Ruins: Jewish life in Lower Silesia 1945-1968” at UC Berkeley’s Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, Berkeley, CA.
    4. In May 2017, Taube Philanthropies sponsored the visit of Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich and Hillel Warsaw Executive Director Magda Dorosz to the San Francisco Bay Area, where they met with friends and colleagues.
    5. On behalf of Hon. Consul Taube, Agnieszka Ilwicka, trainee at the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture and graduate student of Yiddish language, attended the annual Polish heritage Festival in Belmont, CA, on May 20, 2017.
    6. In June 2017, the Honorary Consulates of the San Francisco Bay Area announced the recipients of the ninth 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: Stefan Wilkanowicz, Polish philosopher; and Bogdan Białek, psychologist.The awards were presented on June 30 at the Jan Kulczyk Memorial Concert of the Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków.
    7. At the invitation of Honorary Consul Tad Taube, Speaker of the Knesset in Israel Yuli Edelstein, and his wife, Irina Nevzlin (Board Chair of Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of the Jewish People) attended the Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków, and were guests of honor at the presentation of the Irena Sendler Memorial Awards at the Jan Kulczyk Memorial Concert.
    8. Delegation to Kraków in June-July for the 26th Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków
      Honorary Consul for the Republic of Poland in the San Francisco Bay Area Tad Taube and Deputy Consul and San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association Vice President Shana Penn attended the 26th Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków. At the same time, Hon. Taube and Ms. Penn met with Kraków community leaders and officials in promotion of the San Francisco- Kraków Sister Cities Cooperation Agreement.
    9. Shana Penn, Deputy Honorary Consul for the Republic of Poland in the San Francisco Bay Area moderated a panel on June 30 at the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, titled “ New Jewish Museums in the 21st Century.” Panel of experts included: Dr. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Chief Curator, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw; Irina Nevzlin, Chair, Board of Directors, Beit Hatfutsot Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv; Dr. Brigitte Sion, Museum Program Officer, Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe, London; Dr. Jonathan Webber, Chairman, Galicia Jewish Museum, Krakow; Shana Penn, Executive Director, Taube Philanthropies, Berkeley, Moderator.
    10. Meetings with Jagiellonian University Department Chairs
      Deputy Consul and San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association Vice President Shana Penn, with Jagiellonian University Director of the Center for Holocaust Studies Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs, had meetings and discussions with Jagiellonian University’s Rector Wojciech Nowak and Dean of the Centre for European Studies Zdzisław Mach.
    11. Honorary Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation supported the delegation of Makabi Warszawa, the Polish-Jewish sport organization, to the International Maccabiadah Games in Israel, Summer 2017.
    12. Tours through Poland with Taube Jewish Heritage Tours (TJHT), sponsored and/or organized by Hon. Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation, to learn about Jewish revival in Poland:
      • A group of board members and friends of the Jewish Federation of the East Bay visited Poland, coinciding with the 26th Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków. The group toured Warsaw and Praga (including visiting POLIN Museum), Kraków, Oświęcim, and Wieliczka, among others. 
      • The San Francisco Jewish Community Federation’s Young Adult Division brought a delegation of young Jewish adults from the San Francisco Bay Area to Poland to learn first hand about Jewish Polish heritage.
      • TJHT’s tour program, “Off the Beaten Track: Heritage Study Tour of Poland” took place in late summer 2017. The tour is for American students of Polish Jewish and Polish heritage to discover their shared histories.
      • Hillel@Stanford toured Poland with TJHT in September 2017 on a tour titled “Multiculturalism and Nationhood: Poland Past and Present.”
      • TJHT toured a delegation of the Board of Governors from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion during their visit to Poland, November 2017.
    13. Shana Penn, Consular Deputy, participated in a panel at the Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now: ADL Summit on Anti-Semitism, titled “Building Jewish Life in Europe,” November 13, 2017.
    14. Honorary Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundations sponsored the broadcast of “Raise the Roof” on American Public Television in winter 2017 into 2018. “Raise the Roof” is a documentary on the research and erection of the close-to-scale model of the Gwoździec Synagogue, housed at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
    15. Former President Bronisław Komorowski’s Visit to the San Francisco Bay Area
      • On November 29th, Consul Kerosky and Consul Taube along with other leaders of the San Francisco Krakow Sister Cities Association hosted a gala reception for former President of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski. The reception took place at the home of Lewis and Caroline Brownstone.  Consul Kerosky introduced President Komorowski, who spoke to the audience about his life in Solidarity and later as Marshalek of the Sejm and President of Poland.  Deputy Honorary Consul Shana Penn, on behalf of Consul Taube, welcomed the audience and presented the President with various gifts. The event was the beginning of a month of activities providing President Komorowski a warm welcome to San Francisco.
      • While in the region, the Consulates arranged meetings for President Komorowski with Polish business leaders and Polish cultural benefactors. He met with Bay Area-Polish tech leaders and R&D institutes.
      • A farewell reception was held in honor of Polish Consul General in Los Angeles Mariusz Brymora, organized and attended by Hon. Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundation along with San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association and members of Polonia. President Komorowski attended as guest of honor.
    16. Hon. Taube’s philanthropic foundation funded the translation of Polish Holocaust survivor Eva Libitzky’s book “Out on a Ledge” from English to Polish in 2017. Additionally, his philanthropic foundations funded the translation of “Jewish Women in Central and Eastern Europe,” co-authored by Drs. Natalia Aleksiun and Elissa Bemporad.
    17. New Publications / Educational Resources:
      • Peoplehood Papers. Co-published with the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Foundation, this collection of essays, inspired by the success of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, features Jewish museum professionals from Europe, Israel and the United States discussing how museums have re-imagined the purposes and possibilities of museum display and education in the 21st century.
      • Field Guide to Jewish Warsaw and Kraków. Produced in 2012, it will be republished in 2018 in a new printed format. It is currently in development to become a mobile app, as well.
      • Field Guide to Jewish Łódź. Produced in 2017, this field guide is a guidebook to Jewish Łódź, past and present.
      • Gazeta. Quarterly Newsletter of the American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies
      • Deep Roots New Branches: Personal Essays on the Rebirth of Jewish Life in Poland Since 1989

        In 2014, the 25th anniversary of the victory of democracy over communism in Poland, the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland, and the Honorary Consulate for the Republic of Poland in the San Francisco Bay Area were proud to present this newly released publication, titled Deep Roots, New Branches: Personal Essays on the Rebirth of Jewish Life in Poland since 1989. In 2016, Deep Roots was translated into French and Hebrew at the initiative and with financial support of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

        This collection of personal essays by leading Jewish thinkers and activists in Poland, representing four generations, provides invaluable insights into how the nation’s democratic aspirations made the reclamation of Jewish life possible. Though their assessments of the present and expectations for the future may differ, the authors are united in their commitment to a continued presence of Jews in a country that has been their homeland for ten centuries. This publication enables us to learn about Poland’s past, present and future from inside the culture, which today is free and democratic, a member of NATO and the European Union, an ally of the US and Israel, and protective of its ethnic minorities.

        Deep Roots, New Branches is divided into five thematic sections, based on the age and perspective of the contributors: Fighters: Survivors who stayed in Poland or returned after the fall of the Soviet Bloc; Dreamers: Activists who dared to face down authoritarianism and reclaim their Jewish birthright; Expats: Foreigners who came, stayed, and made Poland their home; The Third Generation: Those raised in the shadow of the Iron Curtain as Communism fell; and The Millennials: Young people effecting change in today’s free and democratic Poland. To offer perspective on all these viewpoints, we included a timeline of recent Polish Jewish history from 1989 to the present.

  5. The image of Poland in local mass media.


III. 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.


IV. 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 and Consul Kerosky’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, Polish, and civic 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. Consul Kerosky has worked closely with the Catholic Diocese of San Francisco on various matters. Both Consuls maintain relationships with the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, the largest religious educational institution in the area.
    4. care extended to veterans and places of national remembrance;
      • Consul Taube is the largest American sponsor of POLIN 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. Consul Taube also supported the renovation of the Przysucha Synagogue, and the renovation of Wrocław’s White Stork Synagogue’s House of Prayer.

V. Organization

  1. Structural organization of Honorary Consulate, number of employees and how many speak Polish.

    Consul Taube:

    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.
    7. Maayan Stanton, competent in Polish.
    8. Agnieszka Ilwicka, native Polish speaker.

    Consul Kerosky:

    1. Consul Kerosky, competent in Polish.
    2. Paweł Trela, fluent in Polish, represents Consul Kerosky in meetings.
    3. Magda Zimka, fluent in Polish, represents Consul Kerosky in meetings.
    4. Mr. Kerosky has 30 other staff members with 7 offices in the Northern California region (specifically in San Jose, Sacramento, Walnut Creek, Napa, Santa Rosa, Ukiah, and downtown San Francisco.)
  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).
    1. 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;
      • N/A
    4. preliminary annual estimate of office expenses related to enlarged scope of services.
      • N/A

VI. Proposals and motions

  • 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.
  • 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.