When: Sun., Aug. 19, 5-7 p.m.
For more than 30 years, Sonia Washawski has been distracting herself from somber thoughts through needle work. But an eviction notice for her tailor shop, which has clung to life in a vacant Kansas City mall, forces the vibrant great grandmother to confront questions of survival, not only commercial. Agonizing memories of three Nazi death camps come surging back, and she embarks on a speaking tour to share her experiences of the Holocaust. Co-directed by one of her granddaughters, Big Sonia is the loving portrait of an extraordinary woman who, even at 91, refuses to accede to darkness. It follows Sonia as she closes up shop and bids farewell to the customers who adore her and also as she recounts tales of excruciating horror to students, prison inmates and her own extensive family. Though the film at times loses focus, it documents the profound effect Sonia’s indomitable spirit has on everyone she meets. A viewer of Big Sonia can no more deny the life force of Sonia Washawski than her testimony to the genocide of millions of her fellow Jews.