Here’s a quick summary of the
Prisoners of her Past is a film that shows
Howard Reich trying to find out what exactly
happened to his mother, Sonia Reich, who is a
survivor by running away and hiding during the
Now, she currently suffers from Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder. She is convinced that everyone
is out to get her; her mindset is stuck in her
past, although is aware of her surroundings and
knows who people are in the present.
Central Message of the Film.
Traumatizing experiences can cause disorders
like PTSD to occur, but this can be prevented.
Since she was alone during her hiding and
escape during the Holocaust, she was alone in
dealing with her experience, so therefore she
didn’t talk about it.
Howard Reich and Leon
Also, towards the end, it shows young survivors
of Hurricane Katrina listening to Sonia’s story
and then opening up about their own
Reich tries to convince the young survivors that
the only way you will be able to heal from the
trauma is to open up, talk about it, and talk
about it made them feel.
The difference between Leon and Sonia is that
Leon opened up and talked about his
experiences, and by talking about them, he was
learning to cope with them, leaving him much
less likely to have PTSD.
Effectiveness of Film
It tells Leon’s story of how he dealt with it and it
shows his personality and how he acts today.
This is contrasted well with Sonia’s behavior
because when Leon comes to visit her, he is
trying to help her remember her experience so
that they can talk together, but she rejects him,
because she is blocking out any connection to
the past, although she is stuck in it.
To have the audience hear Sonia’s, Leon’s, and
other survivors’ stories, and recognize the
contrast between them.
He wanted the audience to see the different
ways people deal with their trauma and where
they are once they get older.
The filmmaker wants the audience to realize
that this is relevant to today.
He urges people, if they have had traumatic
Sources of Film
Leon’s story of his experiences
Various people in Ukraine that help us visualize
what really happened during the Holocaust.
“What is the role of the individual
in the modern world?”
He not only tells his mother’s story
He is helping people today deal with their
trauma by having them realize they have to talk
about it if they want to get over it.
He is using the best possible medium
a film, which can reach people all over the
“How have human choices had a
local and global impact?”
The film shows how the Holocaust impacted the
European countries, the Jews, and many other
people that were discriminated.
A Ukrainian woman
tells a story about
the horrors that occurred
right down the road
Did Sonia see the movie? If she did, what was
What are the circumstances of her illness? Is
she stuck in the past, or is she just having those
emotions come back and affect her because she
knows the people around her?
How has growing up with
Sonia’s behavior affected
What inspired Howard to
create a film, not just a book?
Think about this…
Prisoners of her Past was much more than a
movie showing a woman suffering from PTSD
It’s a message to the people and anyone who
has gone through a traumatic experience that
although what a person went through is awful,
they can come back from it if they do the right
things like open up and talk.
This is what Reich shows the Hurricane Katrina
survivors to do.
Young people, and old need to deal with their
problems so that they can go on with their life,
without this trauma holding them back. This is
what prevents a person from becoming a
prisoner of their past…