Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Prince Charles opens Jewish centre in Poland

His Royal Highness was in Krakow today opening the new Jewish Cultural Centre, which he helped set up and partially funded himself. But the Polish media have been more interested in the Mrs Royal Highness (she's the one on the left - photo by Mada Matyjaszek) who accompanied him.

Prince Charles was in Krakow back in 2002. The story goes that when on a tour of the city he was inquisitive about the Jewish history of the place. It is the city of Polanski, of Schindler’s List - it’s in the outside world’s imagination of Poland’s Jewish history. But when Charlie found out that there was no significant Jewish centre left in the city, he was amazed.

Cue uniquely strange British Royal English accent (and to think they once called the English accent Queen’s English - have you actually heard that women speak? It’s like no other accent in England.)

“Bout that‘s absolutely scanduuuulloos… I moist do something aboot it,” Charles declared, large ears flapping impressively.

And so he did. Through a foundation based in London he helped develop the Jewish Cultural Centre in Krakow - a five story building to house cultural events and much more.

He also shelled out a few quid from his own pocket (or, being a Brit myself, should that be he even shelled out a few quid from my pocket - the British have always shelled out on behalf of these parasites, after all).

And so it came to pass that Prince Charles - future King Charles III (snigger) - came to Krakow to cut a few ribbons and unveil a few plaques.

But watching the media coverage of his visit this evening, it is the fact that he has been accompanied by his new-ish wife, Camilla Parker Bowles that has caught their attention.

Of course, the typically British upper class equine Camila (why do they all look like horses?) is no match for the supposed beauty of Princess Diana (although, let’s be honest: Diana was the beauty they wanted her to be, not the one she was). Camilla will never be the world media star that Diana was.

Maybe the world will remember Camilla as I do. Back in the heady days in the early 1990s, when Diana was separated from Charles, there was a transcript published in a British tabloid - and never refuted by the Palace - of a conversation between the future king of England and his long time equine lover. The conversation, recorded by some ham radio nerd, included the memorable lines by Charles to Camilla:

Oh, how I wish I was your tampon [!].

Why there wasn’t a republican revolution the moment that crap dropped onto the doorsteps of the UK is, and will always be, a mystery. A man who would rather be a tampon than a monarch is really only fit to be …a royal tampon.

But more importantly - nowhere in the media coverage was it asked why some British royal was the one who initiated a project that should have been essentially Polish in character. Even a tampon has more imagination than that, apparently.


Anonymous said...

Maybe a wealthy Polish philanthropist should contribute to the founding of a museum of British atrocities in Northern Ireland or ____ or ____ or . . .

Anonymous said...

It must be noted as well that the royal tampon isn't the only funder... How much did he come up with?

From some newspaper account:

"The Krakow city council granted the nonprofit Judaica Foundation, the legal entity that operates the center, perpetual title to the property. A nearly $2 million grant from the U.S. government under the 1991 Polish Aid Act through the Joint Commission for Humanitarian Assistance, with some additional funds from other sources, including a $70,000 contribution from the Polish government, provided funding for the extensive renovation."

Anonymous said...

And obviously, it wasn't a grand opening.

And it seems that most of the administrators of the Jewish Cultural Center are not Jewish.

Unless there are competing Jewish centers in Krakow....

beatroot said...

No, Geez, this was quite a big thing down there. And it's been good publicity for Krakow council. I think there were plans to build some kind of center anyway, but he gave it the BiG name kick it needed.

and you are right - the many claims by Americans to solving the Northern Ireland problem - Clinton et al - is slightly puke making.

Anonymous said...

So you're saying that the Jewish Cultural Center to which you're making reference is different than the one in this article, dated 1998?


Or do you have a different understanding of "grand opening" than I do? As in opening its doors to the public for the first time.

beatroot said...

Geez. That centre and a there are a few others is there to educate Poles and others about Jewish history etc. What Charlie Boy did yesterday was open a COMMUNITY centre - i.e. a place for the Jewish community. Before there was no community centre in Krakow.

Can you see the difference?

I have just spoken to someone that went around the place yesterday and apparently it looks like a five story Chinese eatery...with red pillars and gold balls everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I visited two Jewish Cultural Centers in Kazimierz in Krakow in 2003. One near the Old Synagogue (where I saw a Klezmer band perform in a newly renovated building) and another nearer the Remuh Synagogue on the far end of Szeroka Street (where I ate lunch and bought one of those little wooden Jew statues for a Jewish friend of mine)

I've already shown that the US government funded one of them in the amount of $2 million back in the late 1990s - as the article about it I linked was written in 1998. And it was called the "Jewish Cultural Center."

Maybe there are now three such centers. Maybe one is a "center," the other a "centre" and the other a whatever.

Your continued insistence that there was previously never any such animal is a bit odd.

Anonymous said...

Here's the url for the newer Jewish Cultural Center I visited:


I can't find right away a link to the other which was older and on the end of Szeroka Street opposite the Old Synagogue on the other end of Szeroka.

Apparently, the newest one you are writing about is on the grounds of the Tempel Synagogue.

Which "community center" do Krakow Jews mostly frequent?

Anonymous said...

Wondering, too, if the folks who run the Jewish Cultural Festival there in K-kow in June are Jewish:


The point I'm getting at here is how is the actual Jewish community in Krakow involved in and benefiting from all these centers and events?

beatroot said...

Geez - can you see the difference between a CULTURAL centre and a COMMUNITY centre?

Anonymous said...

Yes, sorta, but look at your orignial post. You wrote about a "cultural center," not a "community center."

And what's the big difference?

A community center can offer cultural fare.

And a cultural center can have a computer hook-ups for indigenous community people to use.

The really curious state of affairs here is that there are multiple centers -- whatever the adjective in front of them -- and as far as I can see, they are not run by Krakow Jews and I wonder how much Krakow Jews see them as part of their community or something largely foreign to them.

Anonymous said...

And last I heard, Kazimierz was being yuppified/gentrified.

Where does that leave the 600 or so Krakow Jews today?

I don't know if that's a reliable count -- just found it quickly on the net)

beatroot said...

a cultural and community centre are different things and have a different purpose. A cultural centre is their to disceminate culture...a community centre is there to serve the community. Krakow had no place to serve the Jewish community until now.

Anonymous said...

How can you say with such certainty that Krakow had no place to serve the Jewish community?

Have you ever visited any of the other centers (with whatever adjective you want in front of it)? Which don't serve the local Jewish community? Which don't serve the wider, worldwide Jewish community?

And how does each serve which Jewish community (local or worldwide) -- in what ways?

I think it's ludicrous to try to split community and culture as if culture is something apart from community.

Dydziant dza ever hear of _To Hell with Culture_ by Sir Herbert Read?

Again, the matter I'm most curious about is the extent to which any of these centers serve the local Jewish community in what ways if any.

Just coz they are there doesn't mean that local Jews have much interest in them or use them.

roman said...


Give it a rest, PLEASE?
Community Center, Cultural Center
right click on the above two, not at the same time, copy and open in Wicki and look it up.

Anonymous said...


BTW, the Red Sox suck worse than the Yankees.


roman said...


After tonight's game against the Jays, I totally agree.

Best regards.

Anonymous said...

Is Fenway a community center or a cultural center or both or neither?

roman said...


The bleechers (beer drinkers who arrived via subway)constitute the community center while the exec boxes ("cultured" wine drinkers who paid $30 to park their 7 Series Mercedes) pass for the cultural center. It's a stretch, I admit, but that's as close a comparison as possible.

Anonymous said...

But drinking beer is just as much a culture as drinking wine. Obviously, there are class distinctions within any cultural/community scenario. Are the high brow basefall fans part of the same cultural and/or community event attended by the guys and gals in the bleachers? Or are two different events happening because the game is experienced so differently by the different classes? Can community transcend classes? Can culture? So on and on and on.

beatroot said...

yawn. A cultural centre is NOT the same as a community centre.

roman said...

How did I get sucked into this quagmire of endless refinement of a couple of word definitions?
Although, I admit, that at times this "drill down" trait that geez has, can be a plus.
Not this time, though.


Anonymous said...

BR: firstly, the President of Germany (yes they do have one) costs more than the British royal family (elections aren't cheap) if you consider the cost of the royal family as being the civil list.

Secondly, the royal family actually contribute money to the British state. The civil list payments are made in exchange for the Queen donating the income from her private property to the public purse.

beatroot said...

'Elections aren't cheap.'

And neither should they be. You cannot put a price on democracy. We can out a price on the royal family, however.

But that is not a reason to oppose the royal family. The only reason to oppose them is that they are not accountable or electable. Period.

Awwwffff with their heads!!!!!

Anonymous said...

BR: yawn. A cultural centre is NOT the same as a community centre.

>>> Then let the folks at the new "Jewish Cultural Centre" in Krakow know that they are off the mark and should rename their Centre the "Jewish Community Centre".

Roman, then there's the matter of genuine vs. spurious culture as advanced by the late Edward Sapir...

Anonymous said...

Or did someone mistranslate "Centrum Spolecznosci Zydowskiej"?

"His Royal Highness was in Krakow today opening the new Jewish Cultural Centre."


Badz czujny, wrog nie spij!

Anonymous said...

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