Our Programming Highlights for Polish Heritage Month

Daniel Hautzinger
Raise the Roof film
'Raise the Roof' chronicles an incredible effort to reconstruct the ornate ceiling and roof of an eighteenth century Polish synagogue destroyed by the Nazis

Chicago is often billed as the city with the largest Polish population outside Poland, and the strength of the Polish community in the city is evident in the preponderance of organizations such as the Polish Museum of America and the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, the amount of Polish you hear spoken on the Northwest and Southwest Sides, the large "Polish Cathedral"-style churches, and a major street named after the Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski.

October is Polish Heritage Month, the perfect time to celebrate this influential and vibrant community. Here are some of our programming highlights in honor of Polish Heritage Month.

A Night on Milwaukee Avenue

Thursday, October 3 at 10:00 pm

This documentary tells the story of the most famous Polish neighborhood in America through the people and legendary stars who lived and performed along Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago in the last decades of the twentieth century, just as the Cold War was winding down and Communism in Poland began to weaken. 

Fourth Partition

Thursday October 24 at 10:00 pm


At the turn of the twentieth century, what we now know as Poland was partitioned under the rule of Germany, Austria, and Russia – but you could argue that a fourth area of Polish people and influence existed, across the Atlantic Ocean in Chicago, which was the center of Polish culture and activism in America. (More than four million Poles immigrated to America between 1870 and 1920.) This documentary is the story of how they built institutions, careers, and lives for themselves in Chicago, while also fighting for Polish independence (as illustrated by the story in Falcons of Freedom.)

Flavor of Poland

Sunday, October 27 at 4:30 pm

Flavor of Poland with Aleksandra August

In the same vein as Rick Bayless's Mexico: One Plate at a TimeFlavor of Poland explores the regions of Poland and their specialty dishes and ingredients as well as history and culture, before host Aleksandra August returns to the kitchen to demonstrate the delicious traditional recipes.    

Jewish Film Showcase: Raise the Roof

Thursday, October 31 at 10:00 pm


The synagogues of eighteenth century Poland were magnificent artistic achievements, but they were destroyed by the Nazis. This documentary follows a team of artists, artisans, and students as they reconstruct the ornate roof and painted ceiling of one of them to be the centerpiece of a new Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Along with the restoration project, the film explores the long history of Jews in Poland. 

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