OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Big Sonia premiered at Glenwood Theaters to a sold-out crowd in Overland Park on Friday night.
The documentary tells the powerful story of 92-year-old Sonia Warshawski, one of the last Holocaust survivors in Kansas City.
It's a testament to the human spirit, showing how one can face unspeakable hate with love.
"It's unbelievable," Warshawski said on opening night.
Warshawski's granddaughter, Leah Warshawski, directed the documentary, so this moment is overwhelming for the family.
Though she's a small woman, Warshawski's heart is big, hence the nickname "Big Sonia."
"What makes this movie so exceptional is that it isn't just about my mother's experience during the war and the Holocaust, it's about how one person can make a difference," said Regina Kort, one of Warshawski's daughters.
Nazis killed Warshawski's family. She survived two concentration camps, one of them the notorious Auschwitz. She faced death countless times.
But Sonia has lived her life inspiring others, refusing to hate.
"That was my reason for surviving. It gave me a big push to speak for the ones who didn't make it," Warshawski said.
"We hope that as all of the survivors are aging and we're losing them, that my mother's memory will live on, and not just as a survivor, but also as the real character she is," Debbie Warshawski, another daughter, said.
Warshawski is a wonderfully sweet woman, always wearing a leopard-print coat, carrying a purse in the same design.
"My mother is a force," Kort said with a smile. "She is somebody who is extremely stubborn and, of course, that's one reason she survived."
The movie will run until Dec. 14.
"The message really is to love and take out the hate. I hope one day we will grasp that we are only visiting this gorgeous, beautiful world," Warshawki says.