Big Sonia: A Holocaust Survivor’s Story at the Red Bridge Methodist Church
By Paul Edelman
The tribulations of Sonia Warshawski, an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor and working grandmother, will be shown in the documentary Big Sonia at the Red Bridge United Methodist Church on sunday, April 8 at 6:30 pm.
Released in 2016, the documentary describes the daily life of an intriguing person in Sonia Warshawski. The film alternates its timeline between past and present: from her harrowing experiences in Nazi death camps to Sonia’s modern struggle to keep her tailoring business alive inside a desolate Metcalf mall facing closure. Sporting leopard print clothing and wearing high heels, Sonia drives herself to her own tailor shop every day. Although she stands at only 4’8, the film demonstrates the enormity of her heart and character. Inside her shop, John’s Tailoring and Alterations, patrols this 89-year-old woman whose youthful and hardworking spirit drives her quest to continue working. However, beneath her exterior lies a permanent remembrance of a turbulent childhood: a Nazi identification number sequence is cruelly tattooed alongside her arm, but also within is an admirable story of survival and striving.
Laurie Hines orchestrated the movie’s showing at the church, saying she felt compelled to share this film. Laurie related how even to this day, the now 92-year-old woman heads to work at her personal tailor shop, as she always has. Hines explained that Sonia’s life is admirable. Despite being arrested as a teenager and interned at a Nazi death camp, where she saw her mother be escorted into the gas chamber, Sonia exhibits dogged perseverance in maintaining her tailor shop. Hines said ultimately it is a story where “love overcomes hate.” As a childhood victim of profound discrimination and brutality, Sonia and her story prove that a positive spirit can rebound from the most traumatic experiences, Hines said. “The story is about a way to move past the worst possible imaginable thing in your life,” she said.
The movie event at Red Bridge Methodist Church, 117th & Holmes Rd, is open to everyone and is free but with a free will offering. For more information, call 816-941-0112.