Sonia Reich, a Holocaust survivor, is on the run again after
hearing someone say, “I’ll put a bullet in your head.” After
being admitted to a hospital, many believe that she is suffering
from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.
In order to unfold Sonia's past, and
understand why someone is “trying to kill
her,” Howard Reich would have to travel to
Dubno, Ukraine with Leon Slominski,
Sonia’s cousin, to try to uncover the
horrors Sonia went through during the
Holocaust. All that is known is that Sonia
would run, hide, and beg for food during
Howard Reich illustrated the effects of PTSD and the
difference between men and women in the Holocaust as the
central messages of his film.
The Effects of PTSD
Denial of her experiencing
demonstrates how she is
trying to forget the horrors
that she went through as
a child during the
Reich conveyed the message of the effects of PTSD through
interactions with Sonia and realized that in order for her to
continue to survive, she would have to keep her story inside.
When Reich brought Leon, Sonia’s cousin, to see Sonia, she
acted as if she never heard of him.
Sonia is on the left,
Leon is on the right,
and Sonia and Leon’s
grandfather is in the
The Horrors of Being a Woman in
In Reich’s film, he describes
how women had a more difficult
experience in the Holocaust
because they could have been
A picture of Sonia during the
Reich conveyed his message about how
women had a more difficult time during the
Holocaust through using Sonia to exemplify
what it means to be a Holocaust survivor and
the effects of enduring the Holocaust as well.
Throughout the whole film, Reich illustrates the
importance of the Holocaust. This is important
because it has affected many people and has
both a global and local impact on the world.
Reich also describes and demonstrates the effects of
the Holocaust as well. He uses both Sonia and Leon
to demonstrate this point because Sonia keeps all of
her stories of her Holocaust experiences inside,
while Leon tells his stories of his sufferings in the
During the whole film Reich had many sources that
helped him understand what is wrong with his mother
as well as tour guides that helped him while in Dubno.
They included: Dr. David Rosenberg, Leon Slominski,
Irene and Zygo, and Olga Chernobaj.
Dr. David Rosenberg
Dr. Rosenberg is a psychiatrist who helped in
diagnosing Sonia with PTSD. He also helped Reich
understand how to help his mother and what further
actions he should take in helping her psychologically.
Leon is Sonia’s cousin and
was with her during the
Holocaust when trying to
hide and escape from the
Nazis. Leon helped Reich
learn more about Leon’s
experience during the
Holocaust, which in turn
gave more insight to what
Sonia experienced during
Irene and Zygo
Irene and Zygo were a married couple that helped
Reich with his journey in trying to understand Sonia’s
past. They were a big help to Reich because Irene is
Sonia’s cousin, and gave Reich more understanding of
what Sonia went through during the Holocaust.
Reich was able to convey to his audience his central
messages via the many sources he interviewed.
These sources strengthened the audiences’
understanding, knowledge, and empathy regarding
the trauma that Sonia endured. They helped
articulate the emotional and physical harm that the
Holocaust caused from a first-person perspective,
which further deepened the connection of the
audience to Sonia and her experiences.
What is the Role of the Individual in
the Modern World?
In the film, Reich conveys how
it is very important to
especially the Holocaust, so
that it will not repeat itself.
I agree with Reich, however, I would add and say that not
only do you need to understand the history of the Holocaust,
but also the events that caused the Holocaust to occur.
How have Human Choices had a
In Europe, Hitler’s choice to
murder 6 million Jews caused a
local impact in Europe because,
currently, the majority of the
Jewish population lives in the
United States of America and
How have Human Choices had a
After the Holocaust, many Jews fled,
once they were liberated or
escaped, to the United States of
America, Israel, or neighboring
countries. This was a global
impact because the Jewish
population and other people who
were in the concentration camps
had to start a new life.
After watching “Prisoner of Her Past,” questions that
were not answered in the film were:
Whether Sonia ever told her story to her husband or to
Do her grandchildren understand what is wrong with
Sonia, regarding PTSD?
The central message about PTSD that is demonstrated
in Reich’s film can be related to other events in history.
PTSD is a recent disorder, with the modern
understanding of this disorder dating back to around
Connecting PTSD to Other
PTSD is a disorder where a person suffers from severe
anxiety disorder, which can develop after being apart
of an event that would result in psychological trauma.
PTSD could be seen in war veterans and people who
have experienced traumatic events, such as Katrina
When looking at “Prisoner of Her Past,” I was
amazed to see what Leon went through as a
child during the Holocaust. It was also
interesting to understand the effects of PTSD
and examples that could cause this disorder.
Howard Reich did a great job of describing both
of these aspects in his film and for that, I
enjoyed it very much.
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