At 91, Sonia Warshawski is one of the last remaining Holocaust survivors in Kansas City–and she’s the focus of the film “Big Sonia.” The film centers around the nonagenarian’s experience as a Holocaust survivor–and you can easily see why with her bright nails, cheetah prints, and red lipstick. At just 4’8″, she is clearly a force beyond nature.
Sonia still drives herself around her Midwestern suburb–and runs a a six-day-a-week tailor shop. It’s actually the only thriving business in a failing Kansas City mall–which is a story of survival on its own. It also speaks to Sonia’s ability to thrive, despite being a survivor of the Holocaust (she was a prisoner at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen), and despite being a widow. When she was 13, she saw people in her Polish hometown, Miedzyrzec, rounded up for concentration camps, and at 17, she saw her mother enter a gas chamber.
It’s no surprise that the film is the winner of the Napa Valley Film Festival’s top documentary prize, especially as the film focuses on the aftermath of being a Holocaust survivor and how it affected Sonia’s parenting. For instance, her son, Morrie, said that he and his siblings weren’t as “natural and free” as other kids. It’s truly heartbreaking.
Watch the trailer below (and catch a 2018 screening at one of these locations here; there may be one near you!):