Howard Reich’s ‘Prisoner of Her Past’

Howard Reich

On Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm, Howard Reich stops in to tell us about his documentary, Prisoner of Her Past. The film documents Reich’s discovery that his mother, Sonia, is suffering from late-onset Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a childhood spent running from the Nazis during World War II. In an attempt to understand what she suffered, Reich, jazz critic for the Chicago Tribune, retraces his mother’s path from her hometown in Ukraine to Skokie.

Howard Reich knew very little of his parents’ efforts to survive the war until a February night in 2001 when his mother packed some clothes in paper bags, locked the door of her Skokie home and ran away. Although she shows no signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia, Sonia Reich firmly believes that the Nazi oppressors of her childhood are hunting her once again.

The film explains what little is known about late-onset PTSD through Howard Reich’s experience with his mother, but Reich also takes a close look at the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans to try and understand what can be done to help prevent this debilitating disease.

Reich also wrote a memoir about his life with his mother, “The First and Final Nightmare of Sonia Reich.”

For more information on PTSD, visit the National Center for PTSD through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

The full documentary will air on WTTW11 on April 28th at 9:00 pm.


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2 responses to “Howard Reich’s ‘Prisoner of Her Past’”

  1. Kartemquin says:

    To find out more about the film itself please visit

    Use the code #POHPonPBS to get 15% off the DVD in celebration of the broadcast.

  2. Great post, thanks so a lot for sharing. Do you happen to have an RSS feed I can subscribe to?