For years, Sonia Warshawski (91) has been an inspirational public speaker at schools and prisons, where her stories of surviving the Holocaust as a teenager have inspired countless people who once felt their own traumas would leave them broken forever.
But when Sonia is served an eviction notice for her iconic tailor shop (in a dead mall), she’s confronted with an agonizing decision: either open up a new shop, or retire. Ironically, Sonia’s shop is the last open business in an otherwise desolate Kansas City mall, but it contains enough color and liveliness to make up for the entire empty complex.
For a woman who admits she stays busy “to keep the dark parts away”, facing retirement dredges up fears she’d long forgot she had, and her horrific past resurfaces. BIG SONIA explores what it means to be a survivor and how intergenerational trauma affects families and generations.
Will you let your trauma define you? Or will your past make you stronger?
"An original, nuanced portrait of a Holocaust survivor who runs a tailor shop in an otherwise abandoned Kansas City mall and serves as a motivational speaker."
"Sonia is not a celebrity, a politician or a big business owner. She probably won't be around much longer; and yet, watching this, it would seem unsurprising if people were still talking about her influence in a century's time."
"The filmmakers, like Sonia herself, acknowledge the ongoing struggle that's essential to surviving such trauma. And as survivors' numbers dwindle, there's urgency when she insists on remembering."
Directed by Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday
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