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Congressman Kevin Yoder

Representing the 3rd District of Kansas

Yoder to Host Big Sonia Screening at US Capitol for Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day

Apr 5, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) announced today that he will host a bipartisan screening of the film Big Sonia at the US Capitol in recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 12th. Big Sonia is the story of Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski, 92, who lives in the Third District of Kansas and owns John’s Tailor Shop in Overland Park.

In addition to a limited release in movie theaters, community theaters, and film festivals across the United States, the makers of Big Sonia have been using the film for educational purposes in classrooms in Kansas and hope to show how schools in other congressional districts and communities might benefit from similar efforts.

“I've known Sonia for years as a friend and customer,” Representative Yoder said. “Now she is a local celebrity. Big Sonia is a wonderful tribute to her life and her story from Holocaust survivor to small business owner right here in Overland Park. It’s a story about survival, a true example of the American Dream, and a wonderful tribute to Sonia and her message of love. We must never forget and work every day to fight against forces of evil and hatred and that’s why I’m proud to bring Big Sonia to the US Capitol to share it with my colleagues in Congress.”

“The themes in Big Sonia have never been more relevant and timely, and we’re honored to show the film at the Capitol during the same week that Sonia was liberated from Bergen-Belsen more than 70 years ago,” filmmaker Leah Warshawski said. “Sonia and her three children are traveling to Washington, DC for this special screening and we hope that Members of Congress from both parties can attend and meet her in person.”

Alongside the film, there will be an opening prayer from Rabbi Andy Baker, Director of International Jewish Affairs at the American Jewish Committee, and a panel discussion moderated by Leawood native Jonathan Edelman, Curatorial Associate at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, on the legislative issues facing Holocaust survivors and the government services that are available to them.

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) will attend as a special guest, in addition to other bipartisan Members of Congress, their staff, and family members.


In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski—great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor—runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than thirty years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to revisit her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, BIG SONIA also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all.