Local Holocaust survivor's story inspires in award-winning documentary

Michael Ronnebaum
December 21, 2017 - 6:04 am

"Big Sonia"


A multiple award-winning documentary at Glenwood Arts Theatre in Overland Park is setting records for ticket sales as the subject of the film is being called an inspiration.

"Big Sonia" showcases the life of Sonia Warshawski, a 91-year-old holocaust survivor. Before being liberated by the British from Bergen Belsen she was held captive in three concentration camps. Granddaughter Leah Warshawski, who directed the film, told KMBZ Sonia's story has had a big impact on the world.

"The lessons of her past are actually more relatable and universal now than we could have ever imagined when we started," Warshawski said.

The documentary tells about the life of Sonia Warshawski, from her hometown in Poland, to her life in America, running the family's tailor shop in the dying Metcalf South Mall in Overland Park. Warshawski met her husband, John, at a displaced persons camp and moved to Kansas City in 1948. Her mother died in Nazi captivity. 

Councilwoman Heather Hall introduced a resolution to make December 21 Big Sonia Day in Kansas City.

"I just want Sonia to know that I'm grateful for her perserverence and her dedication," Hall said.

The film will play at Glenwood Arts through December 24.

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