Vlasta Krsek

Growing up in Prague, Vlasta Krsek (1937-2020) was known as the “Shirley Temple of Czechoslovakia,” playing the accordion and dancing in several movies. World War II dramatically changed the life of her family who were forced to live in a refugee camp following the end of the war. They finally immigrated to the US and settled in Chicago.

While she was well known in the polka world, her fame exploded after appearing on Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show and Ferris Buehler’s Day Off where she accompanied Matthew Broderick in the famous parade scene. Even though the “International Queen of Polka” earned only $230 for the movie, she said, “I feel like the promotion is priceless.”

Why this stop? The Pink Line's 54th/Cermak stop is halfway between where Krsek first lived after getting married and where she and her husband later lived in Berwyn, Illinois.

Stream Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and watch the International Queen of Polka in action!

Get involved—After World War II, Krsek and her family were people without a country for seven years. We can only imagine the range of emotions they felt and the challenges they experienced when they arrived in America.  Refugees continue to arrive facing the same range of emotions and challenges today. Want to help them?  Find out about volunteer opportunities with RefugeeOne