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President of Fundacja Edukacyjna Jana Karskiego Honored with a Prestigious Award

Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, then Consul General of the Republic of Poland, speaking on May 31, 2011, at the Polish Consulate in New York, during a special gathering to launch the Jan Karski U.S. Centennial Campaign, which resulted in Karski being awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. (Photo: Courtesy of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland) Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, then Consul General of the Republic of Poland, speaking on May 31, 2011, at the Polish Consulate in New York, during a special gathering to launch the Jan Karski U.S. Centennial Campaign, which resulted in Karski being awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. (Photo: Courtesy of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland)

San Francisco — Taube Philanthropies has named Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, President of the Fundacja Edukacyjna Jana Karskiego (Jan Karski Educational Foundation’s sister organization in Warsaw, Poland), as the recipient of its 2024 Irena Sendler Memorial Award.

Ms. Junczyk-Ziomecka graduated from the law department and completed post-graduate studies in journalism at the University of Warsaw. After coming to the United States in 1982, she became editor-in-chief of Dziennik Polski (“Polish Daily”) newspaper in Detroit. In 2001, she was named director of development at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, now called POLIN Museum. As one of the key figures in the early evolution of the museum, Ms. Junczyk-Ziomecka articulated the museum’s vision to philanthropists whose loyal involvement continues to this day.

Ms. Junczyk-Ziomecka was then invited to serve in the cabinet of the late Lech Kaczynski, the President of Poland, as Undersecretary of State (2006-2008) and then Secretary of State (2008-2010), supervising the Office of Social Initiatives and the Office of Citizens’ Letters and Opinions.

From 2010-2014, Ms. Junczyk-Ziomecka served as Consul General of the Republic of Poland in New York and helped lay the groundwork for the creation of the Jan Karski Educational Foundation. Appropriately, she was the inaugural recipient of the Spirit of Jan Karski Award, which honors those who work “to instill in people — especially youth — the values of leadership, courage, and integrity.” In 2015, she was honored with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta from President Bronisław Komorowski for promoting Jewish culture and history and encouraging the improvement of Polish-Jewish relations in Poland and abroad. Her current work as president of the Fundacja Edukacyjna Jana Karskiego exemplifies her continued dedication to these principles.

For Ms. Junczyk-Ziomecka’s accomplishments, the nomination panel was unanimous in recommending her for the 2024 award.

In accepting the award, Ms. Junczyk-Ziomecka stated:

“It is a joy to be chosen as the recipient of the Irena Sendler Memorial Award. When I met Mrs. Sendler, she was already in a nursing home next door to the apartment where I grew up. She loved being visited, especially by young people from high schools. She had a simple message for every one of them: when you see someone drowning, you have to extend a hand. It is your duty as a human being. In my life’s work, I have often wondered – Are we living up to Irena’s message? This question has made me try harder and do more. With this very special award, I now feel that my work has not been in vain.”

The award ceremony will take place in Warsaw on May 20, 2024, at the POLIN Museum.

About the Irena Sendler Memorial Award

The Irena Sendler Memorial Award was created in 2008 by Taube Philanthropies in memory of Irena Sendler, the Polish social worker who saved Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto during the Nazi occupation. In 1965, Yad Vashem named Irena Sendler a “Righteous Among The Nations.” She died on May 8, 2008, at the age of 98. Each year, starting in 2008, the award is presented to a Polish citizen who has been exemplary in preserving and revitalizing Poland’s Jewish heritage. Nominations for the award are reviewed by a panel of Taube Philanthropies advisory board members, previous awardees, and Jewish cultural leaders in Poland. 

Source: Taube Philanthropies Award Announcement