Royal pride in Krakow

Prince Charles is ‘moved’ as he opens a Jewish cen­tre that he helped to fund

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY LEON SY­MONS

PRINCE CHARLES was so taken by his in­volve­ment in cre­at­ing a new Pol­ish Jewish com­mu­nity cen­tre, which he opened in Krakow on Tues­day, that he now in­tends to be­come in­volved in an­other Jewish project in East­ern Europe, the JC un­der­stands.

“To stand be­tween the Tem­pel and Kupa syn­a­gogues in the heart of the Jewish com­mu­nity is like touch­ing his­tory,” he said dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony. “Your com­mu­nity has borne wit­ness to some of the dark­est clouds of hu­man his­tory right up to to­day when this opens a new and im­por­tant chap­ter.

“[The cen­tre] pro­vides a much-needed place to re­spect the past and to whole­heart­edly em­brace the fu­ture. I hope the ex­em­plary val­ues of one gen­er­a­tion can pass on to an­other and that your chil­dren can be a source of pride and in­spi­ra­tion.

“I can’t tell you what a mo­ment this is. It gives me enor­mous pride.”

The idea for the £700,000 com­mu­nity cen­tre came from the Prince af­ter a visit there in 2002, when he met some of the com­mu­nity’s el­derly peo­ple and asked what he could do to help them.

On his re­turn, Dame Vivien Duffield put him in touch with the Cam­den-based char­ity World Jewish Re­lief. Its cur­rent and past chair­men, Nigel Lay­ton and Jonathan Joseph, met the Prince sub­se­quently to launch the scheme. The Prince’s com­mit­ment came via an un­prece­dented per­sonal con­tri­bu­tion to the cost and he has fol­lowed its progress closely.

Mr Lay­ton and prop­erty com­pany owner Leo Noe, a donor to the project, ac­com­pa­nied the Prince and the Duch- ess of Corn­wall on the flight to Krakow. Prince Charles said as he opened the cen­tre: “For me it’s very mov­ing in­deed to be able to join the Jewish com­mu­nity here in Krakow, who I know have suf­fered so much in the past, and to be able to join you to­day on the steps of this new com­mu­nity cen­tre to which so manypeo­ple­have­con­tribut­edthrough their re­mark­able gen­eros­ity. For both my wife and my­self, go­ing around it and see­ing some of the uses to which it’s be­ing put has warmed our hearts.”

The Prince paid trib­ute to the “ex­tra­or­di­nary work” car­ried out by WJR and to its donors “be­cause with­out them and their re­sponse to my ‘in­ter­fer­ence’ we would not have a cen­tre like this”.

The JC un­der­stands that while meet­ing some of the donors who had flown from Eng­land, the Prince spoke of his de­sire to be­come in­volved in an­other project in east­ern Europe. Se­nior sources at the char­ity con­firmed that av­enues were be­ing ex­plored as to how the Prince could be­come in­volved again. The char­ity works with im­pov­er­ished Jewish com­mu­ni­ties in Ukraine, Be­larus, Moldova, Bul­garia, Ser­bia and Ro­ma­nia as well as Poland. Two years ago, it opened a com­mu­nity cen­tre in Za­porozhe in Ukraine.

Prince Charles said it was a “par­tic­u­lar plea­sure” to meet again Ryszard Orowski, one of those who gave the Prince his in­spi­ra­tion six years ago. Mr Orowski, 67, said: “It was won­der­ful to meet the Prince again af­ter all th­ese years and that he re­mem­bered me. How­ever, there was no in­ter­preter, so I did not know what he said, but he was smil­ing and very happy.”

As a baby, Mr Orowski had been left by a fence by his mother, who later died in Belzec con­cen­tra­tion camp. A man who found him gave him to a Pol­ish fam­ily in Krakow who raised him as their own un­til he was 18. The rest of his fam­ily per­ished in the war.


Look­ing to the fu­ture: Prince Charles and the Duchess of Corn­wall at the open­ing of the com­mu­nity cen­tre. He now plans to do more for Europe’s Jews

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