(Photo: Leah Warshawski)
By: Allison Upchurch, Staff Reporter
Through the Mizel Museum’s Movies that Matter film series, members of the Denver community gathered at the Sie Film Center on Wednesday night to watch the award-winning documentary, Big Sonia. This film is about Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski, who works as a tailor in Kansas and gives talks to groups of people about her time in the Nazi concentration camps.
When she was a young girl, Sonia endured the conditions of the concentration camps, including a harsh beating and a gunshot wound, but has come out to be a caring and considerate mother and grandmother with a prominent but straightforward love for leopard print and a fish dish inspired by her own mother’s cooking.
Produced and directed by Sonia’s granddaughter Leah Warshawski, this documentary has many focuses beyond just telling Sonia’s story. It portrays how people are touch and affected by her story, most notably in Caroline, a student who took Sonia’s story to heart and created a non-profit youth group focused on empowerment when she graduated high school. The documentary also brings to light the need to connect as a community and show support to one another to stop hatred and bigotry. This comes out in the film when Sonia shared her story with a group of men at a correctional facility, and each commented how her call to love and hope would resonate with each man upon release from jail.
The subject for this documentary achieves the goal of the Movies that Matter series to “address the most pressing social justice issues of today and inspire students and community members to become civically engaged in positive change,” according to the press release for this event.
In connection with the Regis community, this documentary highlights the Jesuit value of “contemplatives in action” because of how the people who had heard of Sonia’s story have done more than just listen. They have taken her message and spread it out to even more people in the world to affect change in issues of social justice. When thinking about it, this whole documentary in of itself is Leah’s contemplative in action as well as Caroline’s. Because of it, they have reached out to more people than Sonia could have ever reached all on her own, making this call for positive change a community effort, where anyone and everyone can be involved.
To learn more about the Mizel Museum and its Movies that Matter film series, go to www.mizelmuseum.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.