2019 Consular Report


Submitted January 23, 2020

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. Honorary Consuls Taube is in communication with the Mayor of San Francisco, Mayor London Breed.
      2. Honorary Consuls Taube knows the Governor-Elect of California, Governor Gavin Newsom. Honorary Consul Taube is a long-time friend of outgoing Governor Jerry Brown. Both Honorary Consuls know all of the congressional representatives. 
      3. Our Consular office regularly attends the meetings of the Consular Corps in San Francisco, which meet once monthly at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Francisco.
      4. On May 3, 2019, the annual Polish Flag Raising at San Francisco City Hall was held to celebrate Polish Constitution Day. A representative of San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Honorary Consul Taube presided over the flag raising. As is customary, the Mayor proclaimed May 3, 2019 as Polish Constitution Day in San Francisco and presented a framed declaration to the Honorary Consul.
      5. On December 4, 2019, Honorary Consul Tad Taube and his deputy Shana Penn attended the annual Consular Corps Holiday Party, representing the Honorary Polish Consulate.
    2. General situation and economic policy (consequences of the financial crisis).
      1. N/A
    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).
      1. N/A
    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.)
      1. Hon. Consul Taube continually meets and corresponds with local authorities and institutions as relevant. Of utmost priority is advocacy for increased trade between Poland and Northern California.
    1. Description of the cooperation with Poland within the consular region
      1. Regional cooperation (e.g. sister cities).
        1. Throughout the year Honorary Consul Tad Taube and deputy Shana Penn meet or speak with Ambassador of the Republic of Poland Piotr Wilczek and Filip Jasinski, First Counselor of the Embassy of the Republic of Polandin Poland between June 28-July 2 and in Washington DC on November 19.
        2. The Honorary 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 Consulate offices for 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. Honorary Consul Taube and former Consul Kerosky have co-hosted many Sister Cities events. For further information please see the website: sfkrakow.org; Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoKrakowSisterCities; and blog: sistercities.org. This relationship was recently renewed by both cities. 
        3. Consul Taube has continuously worked closely with the Silicon Valley Acceleration Poland (SVAC) Center since it opened in 2013. This continued in 2019.
        4. Visit of President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Duda to the San Francisco Bay Area
          The Honorary Consulate worked closely with the Consul General in Los Angeles to assist with arrangements for this 3-day visit including:
          • First Day: June 15, 2019.
            1.  Arrival to San Francisco
          • Second Day: June 16, 2019.​ ​
            1. ​President Andrzej Duda with First Lady Agata Duda attend prayer services at Saint Brother Albert Chmielowiski Polish Mission in San Jose and meet with Polonia of the Bay Area. Honorary Consul Tad Taube greets them. Agnieszka Ilwicka assists. 
            2. Łowiczanie Polish Folk Dance Ensemble, led by Director Mary Kay​ ​Stuvland, performed ​traditional Łowicz folk dances.
            3. Agnieszka Ilwicka prepared a cultural tour of San Francisco for the President and First Lady.
          • Third Day: June 17, 2019
            1. A morning Greeting and Meeting with the Governor of California.
            2.  Keynote at an investment conference. Business forum for Polish startups and IT companies including Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Youtube.
            3. A tour of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University for the First Lady, accompanied by Dianne Taube and Shana Penn, with Agnieszka Ilwicka serving as interpreter.
            4. Meeting at the Fairmont Hotel with Distinguished Benefactors of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and Jewish Community Leaders who support Jewish culture in Poland including: Tad Taube, Sean Taube, Shana Penn, Abraham Sofaer, Anita Freedman, Michael Boskin, Moses Libitzky, Rabbi Serena Eisenberg, and Agnieszka Ilwicka serving as interpreter. 
            5. Departure to Poland
      1. Economic and scientific cooperation (including universities).
      2. 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 2019 supported 9doctoral seminars with 27 participants; 3 fellowships and 5 international interns; 8 travel grants; 3 research workshops and 9 distinguished lectures; 2 conferences, and answered 692queries, was visited by 3,965 guests, and added 70,000 records to the genealogical database at POLIN Museum’s Genealogy Center.
        2. 2019 marks the fifth year of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture’s involvement as co-publisher of Gazeta: A Quarterly Newsletter of the American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies, chaired by Irene Pipes and directed by Prof Antony Polonsky, with participation of Consul Taube.
        3. January 3, 2019:Kościuszko Foundation Fellow, Prof. Jolanta Ambrosiewicz-Jacobs met with Tad Taube and Shana Penn to discuss future academic opportunities.
        4. February 12, 2019: Hillel at Stanford toured Poland with Taube Jewish Heritage Tours on a tour titled “Multiculturalism and Nationhood: Poland Past and Present” to learn about Jewish revival in Poland. The tour was sponsored and organized by Hon. Consul Taube’s philanthropic foundations.
        5. March 3, 2019: The Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture Advisory Board Meeting.
        6. March 3-11, 2019: Consul Taube and Shana Penn hosted Helise Liberman in the Bay Area giving her opportunities to promote tours to Poland in the summer 2019.
        7. March 6-9, 2019: Consul Taube and Shana Penn hosted Łucja Koch during her trip to Bay Area, where she was seeking educational partnership opportunities.
        8. March 11, 2019: Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt met with Bay Area Jewish community members interested in visiting Poland in the Summer 2019 on a tour in which she served as scholar-in-residence.
        9. March 15-22, 2019: Shana Penn represented Consul Taube in Poland at meetings with, among others, the Mayor of Warsaw, the AZIH chairman, POLIN Museum leaders, UJ Dean of International Relations, and directors of the JCC in Warsaw, the Jewish Culture Festival, Galicia Jewish Museum and the JCC in Kraków.
        10. June 28, 2019: The annual Irena Sendler Memorial Award ceremony of Taube Philanthropies was held at the Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków. The awardees were Zuzana Radzik and Adam Bartosz.
        11. June 29-July 2, 2019: Consul Taube and Shana Penn attended the 29th Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków. They met with Kraków community leaders and officials in promotion of the San Francisco- Kraków Sister Cities Association. They met with the Jagiellonian Rector Nowak to discuss future academic cooperation. In Warsaw they met with Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński on July 2. They attended the POLIN Museum Rada meeting and the POLIN Museum’s Donors Council meeting.
        12. 2019: Shana Penn represented Consul Taube in Poland during meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Gliński and others, including AZIH Chairman Piotr Wislicki, Director of the Jewish Culture Festival Janusz Makuch, and Director of the Galicia Jewish Museum, Jakub Nowakowski.
        13. October 13, 2019: Consul Taube was represented during the Parliament’s Election Day by Agnieszka Ilwicka who served as a Vice-Chair of the voting procedure. 
        14. October 24, 2019: Janusz Makuch, Executive Director of the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, visited the Bay Area. Honorary Consul Taube arranged meetings for him with Bay Area organizations.
        15. October 31, 2019: At an event cohosted by the Graduate Theological Union, Senat MP Wanda Nowicka reported on the October 13 Parliamentary Elections.
        16. November 12, 2019: Jonathan Ornstein, Executive Director of JCC Krakow visited the Bay Area. Honorary Consul Taube arranged meetings for him with Bay Area organizations.
        17. November 19, 2019: Georgetown University Panel at exhibition opening of Chuck Fishman’s photography on pre- and post-89 Jewish life in Poland – Shana Penn, Jakub Nowakowski, Edyta Gawron, Chuck Fishman, Anna Sommer-Schneider.
        18. November 19, 2019: Shana Penn met with Filip Jasiński, Councillor of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington DC.
        19. November 23-25, 2019: Shana Penn presented a paper on the Solidarity movement at the Annual Conference of the Association of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, which marked the 30th anniversary of 1989, and was held in San Francisco. She also met with former President of Poland Lech Walesa.
        20. December 15-17, 2019: On behalf of Hon. Consul Taube, Agnieszka Ilwicka, Research Fellow at the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture and graduate student of Yiddish language, attended the Annual Conference of the American Jewish Studies Association in San Diego.
    1. 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.
    1. 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 Consulate and have links of Consul Taube’s 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 dialog;
          • Many activities are incorporated into the programs of the San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association, which enables Consul Taube to create partnerships between non-Polonia civil 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 and works with the Catholic Diocese of San Francisco on various matters. The Consulate maintains relationships with the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, the largest religious educational institution in the area, as well as other Bay Area Catholic universities and Jewish studies departments including Santa Clara University, Notre Dame de Namur University, and the University of San Francisco.
        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.
    1.  Organization
      1. Structural organization of Honorary Consulate, number of employees and how many speak Polish.
        • Consul Taube, competent in Polish.
        • Shana Penn, moderate Polish, represents Consul Taube in meetings.
        • Agnieszka Ilwicka, native Polish speaker, translator/interpreter as needed.
        • Mary Kay Stuvland, moderate Polish, represents Consul Taube in meetings.
        • Lina Broydo, moderate Polish, represents Consul Taube in meetings.
        • Allegra de Peralta, assistant to Consul Taube, no Polish language.
        • Vera Hannush, beginning Polish.
      1. 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
      2. Consulate’s amenities and work conditions, including the possibility of organizing professional consular office hours (including safe and fast Internet connection).
        1. Yes, the Consulate has these amenities and working conditions.
      3. Cooperation with Polish consular and diplomatic missions in the US.
        1. The Honorary Consul cooperates and collaborates with the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Polish Consulates in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
      4. Other conditions determining specific functions of the Consulate (e.g. dispersal of the Diaspora).
        1. N/A
      5. 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
    1. Proposals and motions
      1. The Consul will broaden and deepen his 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.
      2. Consul Taube will strengthen and continue to promote the activities of the San Francisco-Kraków Sister Cities Association.
      3. It remains a major objective of the Consulate to promote Poland’s leadership role in the European Union as well as in Poland
      4. Many of the various programs outlined in this report illuminate how 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. Consul Taube will continue to host diplomats and ordinary Polish citizens visiting the Bay Area.