Prisoner of Her Past Multimedia Presentation By: Jacob Hanin
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 the Holocaust.
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 the Holocaust demonstrates how she is trying to forget the horrors that she went through as a child during the Holocaust.
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 middle.
The Horrors of Being a Woman in the Holocaust In Reich’s film, he describes how women had a more difficult experience in the Holocaust because they could have been raped. A picture of Sonia during the Holocaust.
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 Holocaust.
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 Slominski 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 this time.
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.
Olga Chernobaj Olga was a Ukrainian woman who observed the machine gun massacre of many Jewish people during the summer of 1941. She helped Reich and Leon understand the horrors that Jewish people endured during the Holocaust, especially women.
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 understand history, 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 Local Impact? 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 Israel.
How have Human Choices had a Global Impact? 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.
Lingering Questions 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 close relatives? 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 the 1970s.
Connecting PTSD to Other Historical Events 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 victims.
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.