The Polski Theatre first launched its activities in 1875. Its establishment was an expression of Poles’ determination to preserve and disseminate their culture. Its operation was made possible after a ban was lifted on staging performances in a language other than German without the express permission of the authorities. Rather than being intended only for the elites, the Theatre sought to popularise culture among a wide audience. When it opened, the Theatre stood for Polish identity and language at a time of tightening cultural rivalry with German traditions. The theatre was originally placed in a courtyard behind a splendid townhouse whose rental income was used to fund its operations. Its construction was financed with contributions from Poles residing in all three partitions. Their contributions are acknowledged in the inscription “The nation unto itself”, placed on the building’s façade.