Blog Archives

“Berlin is in Germany” and “Bye, Bye GDR!” featured at 2010 International Summer Screenings Program; May 19, 22 and June 16, 19

Berlin is in Germany

In 2001, Martin Schultz is released from the Brandenburg Penitentiary. A resident of East Berlin when he was convicted just before the wall came down in 1989, he must acclimate himself to the sweeping changes of 12 years of German reunification overnight. Martin strives in earnest to get back on his feet, but the Berlin he once knew is a thing of the past; even as he tries to reconnect with his wife and son, they appear nearly as foreign as the city he once called home. Projecting the experience of one individual against the backdrop of one of history’s tectonic shifts, Berlin Is in Germany asks whether or not it is possible to find deliverance from the past.

A post-screening discussion will follow the film on Wednesday, May 19.

Director: Hannes Stöhr. (German with English subtitles; 2001; 91 minutes) Co-presented by the Goethe-Institut Chicago.

May 19, 2010 : May 22, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 6:30pm
Saturday, May 22, 2 pm


Bye, Bye GDR! To Liberty via Warsaw

The documentary Bye, Bye GDR! To Liberty via Warsaw recounts the story of the escape of roughly 6,000 East Germans through Warsaw to West Germany in the autumn of 1989. Twenty years after the unforgettable events that ended the Cold War, this long veiled story is brought to light as the former East German refugees and Polish and German politicians share their memories of a people’s flight from their own country. Once the refugees arrived in Poland that fateful year, they traveled to Warsaw in order to reach the West German Embassy and eventually West Berlin.

Director: Krzysztof Czajka. (Polish with English subtitles; 2009; 55 minutes) Co-presented by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago.

Jun 16, 2010 : Jun 19, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 6:30 pm
Saturday, June 19, 2 pm

All screenings are free and will be held at:

Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St., Claudia Cassidy Theater
Chicago, IL 60602

Cinema/Chicago, in collaboration with the Chicago Cultural Center and international and cultural partners throughout the city, is pleased to host free public film screenings at the 7th Annual International Summer Screenings Program. Seating is on a first come, first served basis and is limited to theater capacity. Films are unrated, and viewer discretion is advised.

Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, brings the best in international cinema to Chicago through its year-round programming and events. Its mission is to foster better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image.

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Polish Independence Day Festival, April 30-May 2

April 30th, May 1st and 2nd – Polish Independence Day Festival

5-11PM, 12-11PM & 12-11PM
5216 W. Lawrence
Chicago, IL 60630

Celebrate your Polish Heritage over three fun – filled days at this annual event (formerly known as Poland on the Pier & Poland in the Park!) The exciting festival extends Chicago’s annual celebration of Polish Constitution Day!

To make the event bigger and better (plus accommodate more folks!), we are moving to Copernicus Center (home of the annual Taste of Polonia) this year!

Enjoy nonstop live music on two stages by popular performers from Poland including Ryszard Rynkowski, KORA, Pectus, Candy Girl and many more!

Posted in: Chicago Events

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs: “Poland: Rising to the Challenge,” Polish President Lech Kaczyński, April 30

FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2010



His Excellency Lech Kaczyński, President of the Republic of Poland

His Excellency Lech KaczynskiPoland has combined strong economic growth with increased security commitments to rapidly emerge as an influential European Union member state and a strong ally to the United States. In the aftermath of the global economic downturn, Poland was the only country of the 27-member European Union to avoid a recession and sidestep the brunt of the economic crisis. Poland’s central bank estimates GDP growth in 2010 at around 3 percent, providing President Kaczyński additional leverage for his recent call for Poland’s membership into the G20.

Poland has expanded its influence and leadership in Europe by playing a substantial role in both NATO and the European Union. In response to new and pressing security concerns on the regional and international level, Poland will be leading a new round of discussions on developing a European security architecture for the future. Poland also has been a key ally of the United States and was one of just three countries to enter Iraq with U.S. forces in 2003. Polish troops have also fought in Afghanistan since the beginning of the NATO mission in 2002. Looking forward, Poland will be a vital player in reforming NATO to deal with the myriad of complex global challenges of the 21st century, including non-proliferation, energy security, and the preservation of peace and freedom in Europe.

His Excellency Lech Kaczyński was elected President of the Republic of Poland in 2005. With a Ph.D. in law science and university professor, he began his career in politics as a member of the opposition movement in the second half of 1970s when Poland was under the Soviet Union’s domination. In 1981, he was placed in an internment camp for almost one year because of his activities in the Polish Solidarity movement. He was first elected a member of Parliament in 1989 and went on to act in parliamentary committees on legislation and social matters. He served in positions in various state institutions, including President of the Supreme Chamber of Control and Codification Committee. In June 2000 he was appointed Minister of Justice, a position that brought him wide appreciation for his tough fight against crime and corruption. Mr. Kaczyński was elected Mayor of Warsaw, Poland’s capital, in 2002.

The Fairmont Chicago
200 North Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

12:00 Noon  Registration and Security Check-In
12:30 p.m.   Luncheon, Remarks, and Discussion
2:00 p.m.   Adjournment

Members $50
Nonmembers $60



  • Due to strict security procedures, please arrive early.
  • You must bring a valid photo ID (official state ID/driver’s license/passport).
  • Registration closes at 5:00 p.m. on TUESDAY, APRIL 27.
  • Registrations are nontransferable, and NO WALK-INS WILL BE ALLOWED
  • Posted in: Chicago Events

    CEERES Event: “The Politics of Democratic Performativity: Poland Before and After 1989,” Elzbieta Matynia, April 27

    April 27, 2010 (Tuesday).  Elzbieta Matynia (The New School), “The Politics of Democratic Performativity: Poland Before and After 1989.”  Franke Institute; 5:00 p.m.

    Bio:Elzbieta Matynia is a professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies and director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies at the New School for Social Research in New York. Her research in political and cultural sociology focuses on democratic transitions in Eastern Europe and beyond, and more recently on the concept of borderlands in the emerging “shared Europe”. Her recent book ( 2009), Performative Democracy, was published in the Yale Cultural Sociology Series by Paradigm Publishers. It explores a potential in political life that easily escapes theorists: the indigenously inspired enacting of democracy by citizens. Written by one who experienced an emerging public sphere within Communist Poland, the book seeks to identify the conditions for performativity in public life.

    Posted in: CEERES Events/News, University of Chicago Events
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    Easter Egg Decorating Lecture, Polish Museum of America, March 19

    *Easter Egg Decorating Lecture *

    7:00 p.m. March 19, 2010 at the Polish Museum of America

    984 N. Milwaukee Ave.

    Chicago, IL. 60642

    Many people are often familiar with egg decoration that reflects a particular ethnic group. This lecture will present some of the more popular forms of Ritualistic Egg Decorating, and some less so, as practiced not only in Poland, but by it’s neighbors, and those cultures surrounding them. This is a deep, yet rich folk tradition that is shared by Slavs, and non Slavs alike in this part of Europe, that predates Christianity, and one will get a chance to glimpse, and explore the unique and interesting ways that these eggs have been decorated over centuries. Also during this time some of the history, folk legends, and traditions that revolve around the decorated egg, will be addressed. This is a rare opportunity for the senses to experience the myriad of colors, patterns, intricacy, or simplicity that makes these eggs so special. It is believed that one will walk away with a greater understanding, that makes these so very much more than just decorated eggs, and how it relates to the Springtime/ Easter holiday which has held such a special place in our hearts.
    */Note: No part of this lecture may be recorded by any means./

    *Admission: $5.00*


    Background of the speaker:

    *Arnie Klein*, a traditional folk artist, has been decorating eggs for the last 48 years. His work has been primarily the wax resist/ batik method of Pisanki, but additionally he has researched, studied, and put into practice numerous other techniques of egg decoration that are both traditional and non traditional, as practiced in Central Europe. These decorating techniques are reflective of Poland as well as such places as, Ukraine, The Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, and Bulgaria, to name a few. Some of these techniques are, Linear Batik, Drop pull, Wax relief, Scratch Work, Acid Etched, as well as numerous others. Mr. Klein has been recognized as a, “Folk Artist”, by numerous institutions, museums, associations, and organizations, as well as for his continual work on the folk traditions of Central Europe, and the Diaspora. He has also been a participant in a large variety of presentations, and festivals of folk culture such as Michigan’s, “Who’s Story”, The Smithsonian Institute’s, “Festival Of American Folk Life”, as well as many such festivals throughout North America, and Europe. Additionally, he has given lectures, presentations, and exhibitions, on The Ritualistic Egg Decorating Traditions, Embroidery and Textile Traditions, and other Folk Life topics. Mr. Klein grew up in Hamtramck, Michigan, which has been know for it’s huge population of Polish émigrés, and other ethnic groups settling in Hamtramck, and the surrounding Detroit area, during the early part of the previous century, and beyond.

    Posted in: Chicago Events
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    Full-time Lecturer Position in Polish Studies, University of Florida


    The Center for European Studies (CES) at the University of Florida is conducting a search for a full-time, non-tenure track position in Polish Studies to begin August 16, 2010.  Primary duties include teaching two courses per semester: first or second year Polish language and a field-specific, area studies course. In addition, the successful candidate will assist in the continued development of the Polish Studies Program in collaboration with other Polish Studies faculty at UF. Program building tasks include, but are not limited to: community outreach activities; enhancing collaboration with the on-campus Polish student organization; and co-directing a study abroad program. The field of specialization is open and can include any aspect of contemporary Polish language, literature, culture, history, politics or society. Candidates with a demonstrated interest in language pedagogy and an interdisciplinary or comparative background are strongly encouraged to apply. Native or near-native fluency in Polish and English, as well as previous experience teaching Polish language are required. Candidates with Ph.D. are preferred, but qualified candidates who are A.B.D. may be considered. The successful candidate will be expected to participate fully in the scholarly and programming activities of the CES.

    Send letter of application, CV, a writing sample (approximately 20 pages), 2 sample course descriptions (non-language), and three letters of recommendation to: Chair, Polish Studies Search, Center for European Studies, 3324 Turlington Hall, P.O. Box 117342, University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611-7342. The formal review of applications will begin March 31, 2010. All materials should be submitted by this date to insure full consideration. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

    The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Minority and women candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. The Center for European Studies is a Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) for European Studies. Additional information on the Center and its activities is available online at<>

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    “Postmodern Polish Ethnicity: Polish Roots Music & the Post-Communist Recovery of Folk,” Chicago Cultural Center

    *Postmodern Polish Ethnicity: **
    Polish Roots Music & the Post-Communist Recovery of Folk** *

    The Communist regime of the 20th Century co-opted Polish folk culture as part of its own ideology, creating state sponsored folk music ensembles that sanitized folk traditions almost to irrelevance. But the past twenty years have seen a resurgence of Polish roots music called anti-folk or hardcore folk. This multimedia lecture explores several groups in this new genre, including: Zakopower, Lao Che, and Warsaw Village Band. The project presents Polish folk music and ethnic formation in a postmodern, postcolonial, post-communist world and explores the interface of the old, the traditional, and the reified with the new, the modern, and the global.

    **Ann Hetzel Gunkel*, a Fulbright scholar, is the Director of Cultural Studies at Columbia College Chicago. She has lectured widely in North America and Europe on ethnic studies, new media, and postmodernism. She has been awarded the Joseph V. Swastek and Creative Arts Prizes in the field of Polish American Studies and serves as a Board Member of the Polish American Historical Association and the PIAST Institute.


    Over the course of a year a broad range of compelling topics will be explored by some of Chicago’s most noted scholars and educators in a format designed to be informative, invigorating and accessible.

    Intersections is a collaboration of Columbia College Chicago and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. It is the most recent initiative between two organizations that have an admirable history of cooperation and exchange. In recognition of our common commitment to public education and access to the arts, we have come together to share resources and expertise and offer Chicago’s many life-long learners, both residents and visitors, an outstanding opportunity to access the latest scholarship on contemporary culture and the arts.

    *HOW MUCH?*
    CALL 312-744-6630
    Posted in: Chicago Events

    Chicago Premiere of Polish Film “Zero” at the 13th Annual European Union Film Festival, March 21, 25

    13th Annual European Union Film Festival (March 5-April 1), held at the Gene Siskel Film Center, is the largest showcase in North America for the cinema of the European Union (EU) nations. All 27 EU nations are represented in this year’s festival, which includes 59 feature films, all Chicago premieres. The festival features the most provocative film entertainment Europe has to offer, including European blockbusters, edgy avant-garde, escapist comedies, thoughtful documentaries, films by acclaimed directors, and new discoveries.

    * Poland *

    * ZERO *

    2009, Pawel Borowski, Poland, 110 min., with Robert Wieckiewicz, Bogdan Koca

    Sunday, March 21, 7:30 pm & Thursday, March 25, 8:00 pm

    This marvelously inventive thriller scrambles its way through a densely packed twenty-four hours in an unnamed European metropolis, where the lives of more than forty characters fatefully intersect. A CEO, a hospital worker, a peddler, a gigolo, a duplicitous wife, a short-tempered taxi driver, and scores of others are introduced in absorbing mini-dramas; then, like relay runners, each hands the narrative on to the next, until one sprawling tale encompassing adultery, espionage, murder, child pornography, extortion, and robbery takes shape. In Polish with English subtitles. 35mm print courtesy of Opus Film.

    Please visit the Gene Siskel Film Center’s site,, for a schedule of all screenings and to purchase tickets.

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    Slavic Colloquium: “Gombrowicz and Theological Drama,” February 25

    Professor Lukasz Tischner (Jagiellonian University) to present “Grombrowicz and Theological Drama”

    Time: 6-8pm, February 25. Location: Foster 305 (1130 E. 59th Street)

    Reception to follow.

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    Chopin & Paderewski Year 2010 Kicks Off in Chicago with Unique Chopin Program, February 22

    A special program in a special venue on a special date kicks off the Chicago events of the Chopin & Paderewski Year 2010 on Monday, February 22 at 1 p.m. at the Chopin Elementary School Auditorium, 2440 West Rice Street, Chicago, Illinois. This unique event is presented for the students of the Chopin School by The Organizing Committee for Chopin & Paderewski 2010 celebrations and The Paderewski Association, in collaboration with the Paderewski Symphony Orchestra and the Warsaw Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International.

    The great composer Fryderyk Chopin was born in Poland on February 22, 1810 (the date is sometimes given as March 1) and this event celebrates the 200th anniversary of his birth.

    Young students of the Music Academy of the Chicago-based Paderewski Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Barbara Bilszta, together with actors from the Little Star Children’s Theater Workshop invite the audience to observe a re-creation of the salon in the 19th century Polish home of Chopin and to listen to his music.

    Performers will enact Chopin as a boy, a teenager, and then finally as a mature young man, performing his piano compositions. Chopin’s “guests” will sing his songs, dance to his mazurkas, and relate fascinating stories about their host, citing fragments of letters, poetry, and articles penned by the young genius.

    Guest speakers include Chopin School Principal Antuanette Mester; a representative of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago; as well as a representative of the City of Chicago.

    The Chopin Elementary School, which operates as a magnet school within the Chicago Public Schools system, serves kindergarten through 8th grade students providing academically or socially focused instruction for nearly a century. Erected in 1917, the building houses a beautiful auditorium, which has two WPA era murals completed in 1941 by Florian Durzynski (1902-69)—one lyrical mural depicts Fryderyk Chopin.

    This is the first event in a series to be held in Chicago to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ignacy Jan Paderewski (b. 1860)—two of Poland’s renowned composers and musicians.

    Chopin is… not a part of Poland, but precisely, the heart of Poland.
    —Boris Pokrovsky, founder of the Moscow Chamber Opera Theater.

    It is difficult to write of Paderewski without emotion. Statesman, orator, pianist and composer, he is a superlative man, and his genius transcends that of anyone I have ever known. Those of us who love Poland are glad that she can claim him as a son, but let her always remember that Ignacy Jan Paderewski belongs to all mankind.—Charles Phillips, The Story of a Modern Immortal, 1934.

    While Chopin performed in public perhaps only 30 times, Paderewski thrilled crowds of thousands internationally with his recitals spanning over 50 years. His renown was worldwide in a time when public solo recitals were a new form of artistic expression. He was above all a masterful interpreter of Chopin and is recognized for the definitive edition of Chopin’s Complete Works.

    The Paderewski Association was formed to raise awareness of the accomplishments of Ignacy Jan Paderewski—his contributions to music as well as world events of the 20th century.

    The Paderewski Symphony Orchestra, established in 1997 as a chamber ensemble, now numbers over 260 professional musicians and brings Polish music to Illinois audiences in an array of venues.

    Chicago Sister Cities International celebrates 50 years of its program, which comprises 28 cities worldwide. Established in 1960 upon the signing of the first cultural exchange agreement with Warsaw, Poland, the Program honors this anniversary in 2010.

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