Prisoner of Her Past: Documentary Film Screening and Discussion

The Charleston Library Society will host a film screening and discussion of “Prisoner of Her Past” by filmmaker and journalist Howard Reich on Wednesday, September 27, 2023. “Prisoner of Her Past” looks at the life of Reich’s mother, Holocaust survivor Sonia Reich, and how the trauma of her childhood follows her into the present when she begins to show signs of PTSD. SC Humanities supported this program with a Major Grant.

Prisoner of Her Past is a 2010 documentary film adapted from Howard Reich’s book by the same name. The film grapples with the lives and experiences of those impacted by World War II, confronting the past and unraveling a family history. This screening is the latest installment in the Library Society’s Documentary Screening series. Howard Reich will participate in the screening and discussion.

About the Film:
On the night of Feb. 15, 2001, 69-year-old Holocaust survivor Sonia Reich ran out of her house in Skokie, Illinois, telling police she feared someone was going to “put a bullet in my head.” It took Howard, her son, a year to find a doctor who came up with a specific diagnosis: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In effect, Sonia was reliving her unspoken childhood as a Jew running for her life from Nazis. Sixty years later, Howard traveled the world to discover her untold story. He learned that of the 12,000 Jews in Sonia’s small town of Dubno, Poland, less than 100 escaped machine-gun executions; his mother was one. Prisoner of Her Past (originally published as The First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich) illuminates the demons that haunt Howard’s mother to this day.

The event will take place on Wednesday, September 27 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

The Charleston Library Society is a cultural institution for life-long learning, serving its members, the Lowcountry community and scholars through access to its rich collection of books, historic manuscripts and archival material and programs promoting discussion and understanding of the ideas they contain.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c)3 organization is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos, and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.