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Culture Minister Says $48 Million Museum Donations Mean Jews Forgave Poland

Tad Taube

How do you forgive a nation that gave up your millions of relatives to the Nazis and eagerly supported their murders? Easy – you send money.

At least that’s the lesson Poland’s culture minister Malgozata Omilanowska took away from the experience, where more than 500 private and institutional donors, most of them Jewish, contributed $48 million to the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which opens today.

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“The donations can be understood if not as a sign of forgiveness, then as a sign of trust and, perhaps, in the future as forgiveness, ” Minister Omilanowska told the audience at a Monday night celebration marking the opening, JTA reported.

The Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture and the Koret Foundation, both headed by Krakow-born philanthropist and one-time child actor Thaddeus “Tad” Taube, 83, have the biggest private donors to the museum, have bundled more than $16 million, according to JTA.

So it’s clear Tad Taube is ready to forgive the Poles.

But Taube is not a holocaust survivor in the common sense of the word. His family was lucky enough to have left Poland in 1939, two months before the German invasion.

This would explain why he is able to make statements like: “Poland was the site of the greatest genocide ever committed by so-called civilized man, I want to be part of its renaissance.”

It’s unlikely that anyone whose train ride did not take him to Paris and than to the Queen Mary, but rather in the opposite direction, to the death camps, would put the terms Poland and renaissance in the same sentence.

Taube is chairman and founder of the Woodmont Companies, a diversified real estate investment and management organization. He is considered the most influential philanthropist in the SF bay area.

In an interview in the SF Gate, Taube said he avoids donating to what he calls “bottomless pit” causes – poverty, hunger, disease – because “no matter how much money you put in, it’s hard to measure the impact.”

Instead, his foundations have directed more than $80 million to Stanford University for a tennis stadium and a football stadium.

To be fair, they also paid for the Hoover Institution, the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, the Taube Hillel House and numerous general operating grants.



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