- Interviews of, Articles & Videos About Sonia
Interviews of, and Articles about, Sonia Pressman Fuentes
Articles about Sonia are also contained in the section on Belgium.
- Sonia, her parents and brother in the 1930s are shown in the lower right-hand side picture. This is page 18 from the booklet, Red Star Line Museum, People on the move, published by the Red Star Line Museum, due to open in Antwerp, Belgium, on Sept. 28, 2013.
- June 13, 2013, Report of Leita Kaldi, head of the UN Women’s Book Club, Sarasota, FL, on the discussion of Sonia’s memoir, with Sonia present, on June 10.
- Sarasota's Sonia Pressman Fuentes to Receive Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award, April 17, 2013
- On March 14, 2013, the Veteran Feminists of America (VFA), an organization dedicated to recognizing the pioneer feminists of the second wave of the women’s movement, announced the revamping of its website at www.vfa.us. Sonia is mentioned throughout the website.
- On February 21, 2013, the Women’s Herstory Initiative, Words of Women, International Women’s Day, based in Dallas, TX, announced that the essay of seventeen-year-old Talia Weisberg about Sonia on the subject “The Most Influential Woman in My Life” won the Words of Women Essay contest.
- The book, Jews of Sarasota-Manatee, by Kim Sheintal (Arcadia Publishing, Feb. 2013), contains a 2002 photo of Sonia in front of a sign about the Jewish Genealogical Society (JGS) of Southwest Florida (p 25). Sonia gave a talk to JGS on March 2002. To see Sonia’s photo, go to arcadiapublishing.com. You will see a photo of the book cover. Under that are the words "Search Inside," click on that, then type in “Sonia Pressman Fuentes.”
- “Boston Commons,” by Talia Weisberg, was published on January 8, 2013, in Fresh ink for Teens, an online newspaper sponsored by the Jewish Week in New York City.
- "Groundbreakers or Ground Takers?" by Talia Weisberg, was published on December. 8, 2012, in Fresh ink for Teens, an online publication sponsored by the New York Jewish Week.
- By Tyler Whitson, "Women's Rights Pioneers Strive to Influence and Inspire a New Generation," Sarasota News Leader, November 16, 2012. (Visit the Sarasota News Leader Web site.)
- "Women’s Rights Pioneer Sonia Fuentes Speaks at Law School," enewsletter of the Cornell University School of Law, Oct. 31, 2012.
- By Deborah Carney, "Sonia Pressman Fuentes Interview About Feminism and Her Memoir," October 8, 2012.
- Interview with Sonia Pressman Fuentes as a Featured Writer on authormepro.com, August 30, 2012.
- By Nick Friedman, "Neighbors: Sonia Pressman Fuentes," July 4, 2012.
- Jewdayo, June 30, 2012, Sonia as a founder of NOW.
- Sarasota Observer, June 28, 2012: Sonia presents copies of her memoir to prizewinning young women students at Booker Middle School, Sarasota, FL.
- RTIRonline asks Sonia to comment on the death of Nora Ephron, June 28, 2012.
- Website devoted to Sarah Palin calls Sonia a “so-called feminist” (presumably under the theory that forty-seven years of fighting for women’s rights isn’t long enough to qualify one as a feminist). (June 25, 2012)
- Is Laura Bush feminist enough for Alice Paul Award?, Washington Post, June 20, 2012.
- Who Will Speak Out Against an Outrageous Insult to Former First Lady Laura Bush?, The Huffington Post, June 19, 2012.
- Laura Bush’s fight for women, Washington Post, June 19, 2012.
- Sewall-Belmont House draws fire for honoring Laura Bush, Washington, DC’s The Examiner, June 18, 2012.
- Sonia initiates campaign to protest the National Woman’s Party/Sewall-Belmont House & Museum’s plan to give the Alice Award to Laura Bush, Washington Post, June 18, 2012.
- Cary Franklin, “Inventing the `traditional concept’ of sex discrimination,” Harv. Law Review, Vol. 125, # 6, p. 1307 (2012), Univ. of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper #219.
- "Eva Alexandra Countess Kendeffy, Sonia Pressman Fuentes and Rabbi Jonathan Katz", Longboat Key Observer of March 11, 2012. This picture also appeared in the Sarasota, FL, Jewish News (April 2012, p. 14B).
- By David Beard and Bethonie Butler, "The keys to a better life? Everyone has an opinion," February 21, 2012.
- Interview of Sonia by Talia bat Pessi, a high school student, that went online on Feb. 9, 2012.
- Feb. 5, 2012, Interview with Cyrus Webb, editor of Conversations Magazine.
- By Paul Berger, "When 'Savior of Jews' is Deeply Flawed," January 09, 2012. (Article includes a slide show about Sonia.) The article, which deals with Sonia’s request to The Righteous Among the Nations Department at Yad Vashem in Israel to remove Robert de Foy from those recognized as Righteous, was picked up by newspapers in Belgium, Canada, and France. An article about the same subject appeared on Feb. 8, 2012, in Dutch in Joods Actueel, a monthly newspaper directed to Jews in Belgium. By letter of Feb. 4, 2013, The Righteous Among the Nations Department advised Sonia that “after painstaking examination,” her request was denied.
- "Jean Faust, First President of the First Chapter of NOW," December 8, 2011.
- By Abby Weingarten, "Feminist Revisits Her Birth Country," November 9, 2011 (Online version | Photocopy)/Sonia with Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger
- Generations of the Shoah International Newsletter, October 2011
- "NOW Conference: Action, Inspiration and Connection," Now National Times, Fall 2011
- "Sonia Fuentes, writer, speaker, and feminist activist, tells us about her life," HavaMAG Life, Issue 4, September 2011 (To access the article: Click on the arrow to the right until it takes you to the Table of Contents on the left. Next, click on the first item in the Table of Contents, which is the article about Sonia, on page 10. When you come to the article, double click on each page to make the type readable.)
- "Featured Author," Published by Sonia's publisher, Xlibris Corp., in a newsletter and on its website, July 27, 2011.
- By Slavica Monczka, “Feminist Sonia Pressman Fuentes. Her Passion for Women’s Rights,” appeared in the e-zine, Inspirational Woman’s Magazine, on July 24, 2011, and was written by Slavica Monczka.
- By Slavica Monczka, "Something Beautiful is Happening," seductivelyfrench.com, July 5, 2011
- "Blending motherhood and working: Moms work by choice — and also out of necessity," Deseret News, June 26, 2011
- "Second Wave Founder" by Sonia Fuentes, girlscantwhat.com, June 9, 2011
- The CHJ Connection (Vo. XIV, No. 9, May-June 2011)
- Sonia’s March 3, 2011, letter to the editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune is discussed in “Religious Rehab at Florida Jail Sparks Protest,” Church & State (Vol. 64, No. 4, Apr. 2011), the magazine of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The letter is included and can be read in the Letters to the Editor section of this website.
- The Jewish News of Sarasota-Manatee (Vol. 41, No. 2, Feb. 2011): article about the Red Star Line Museum opening in Antwerp, Belgium, on Sept. 27, 2013, which will have a permanent exhibit about Sonia and her family.
- The CHJ Connection, the newsletter of the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in Sarasota, FL, December 2010
- TILES, the newsletter of the Jewish Museum of Florida, December 2010
- 2 million passengers, 2 million stories, The Red Star Line Museum, October 10, 2010
- By WomensRadio Staff, October 12, 2010.
- By Cathy B Stucker, sellingbooks.com, September 8, 2010
- Column called “WorkWise BlogTip: Know when to be direct” by Dr. Mildred L. Culp, which appeared in the Modesto [Calif.] Bee of Sept. 6, 2010
- Radio-TV Interview Report, "Elena Kagan—Fifty and Fabulous," July 7, 2010
- By Joan Collins, The Sullivan County Democrat newspaper on June 18, 2010
- By Joan Collins, The Sullivan County Democrat newspaper on June 11, 2010
- Author Spotlight, Xlibris, June, 2010
- By Andrea Kay, USA Today, May 17, 2010
- By Nancy Gibbs, "Love, Sex, Freedom and the Paradox of the Pill, A Brief History of Birth Control," April 22, 2010
- By David Ball, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, February 20, 2010
- By Tamar Burris, published on the Web site, Story of My Life, January 19, 2010.
- Added as a Luminary on inspiremetoday.com, October 2009
- By Marita Meegan, akgmag.com interviews, August 2009
- By Corie Russell, She Knows, July 2009
- By Meigs Glidewell, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 30, 2009
- By Heather Dunhill, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 4, 2009
- By Veronica I. Arreola, Viva la Feminista, April, 2009
- By Amanda Joe, The Cornell Daily Sun, April 23, 2009
- StopGap Magazine, the members’ magazine of the Fawcett Society in the UK, Spring 2009
- Sonia, who graduated from Monticello High School, in Monticello, NY, was profiled in the October 2008 issue of the newsletter of the Monticello Central School District and is on the district’s website.
- By Kristen J. Tsetsi, Journal Inquirer, March 31, 2008
- By Evelyn L. Moya, The Docket, February 2008
- By Linda Jimenez Glassman, "English Corner" Radio Sefarad interview, August 2007
- By Ruth Lando, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, July 1, 2007
- By Steven A. Bibb, Passages, Summer 2007
- By Marsha Fottler, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, May 12, 2007
- By Erica Brody, National Council of Jewish Women Journal, Winter 2006 (pdf. file)
- Featured Author, Xlibris, November, 2006
- By Adam Levin, Washington Jewish Week, June 29, 2006
- By Susan Weidman Schneider, The Reporter (Spring 2006, Vol. 55, No. 2, p. 10), a publication of Women's American ORT
- The Barrister, the University of Miami (FL) School of Law alumni magazine, Winter 2005
- By Debra Rubin, "The f-wordOnline exhibit features local Jewish feminists," October 27, 2005. Sonia is one of six Washington, DC, area women included in the exhibit of the Jewish Women’s Archive called Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution.
- By Jacqueline Sternberg, Washington Jewish Week, April 28, 2005
- By Ken Millstone, The Potomac Almanac, October 13-19, 2004
- By Jeanette Friedman, Lifestyles Magazine, Fall 2003 (pdf file)
- By Sylvia Danovitch, Women in Judaism: Contemporary Writings, June 2003 (This interview also appears on the website of Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal, on whose consulting board Ms. Fuentes serves.)
- By Sheri' McConnell, National Association of Women Writers, May 2003
- By Michael Pollick, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, November 25, 2002
- By Magdalena Ball, The Compulsive Reader, July 2002
- By the Editor of WomenWriters.net, June 2002
- By Phil Fink, radio interview on Shalom America, WELW 1330 AM, Cleveland, Ohio, Feb. 3, 2002 (not available on the www)
- By Norman Simms, Chadashot, August 2001
- By Bill Adams, The Senior News, July 2001
- By Jenna Glatzer, WriteRead University, May 14, 2001
- Publishing Success Magazine, May 2001
- By Lisa Katz, "The Making of a Jewish American Feminist: Sonia Pressman Fuentes." This is a seven-part piece about Eat First and Ms. Fuentes.
- By Barbara Ruben, Senior Beacon, October 2000
- Cornell Chronicle (Vol. 31, No. 31, April 20, 2000)
- By Lynn Laframboise, Word Wrangler Publishing, February 2000
- Shalom, newspaper for the Reading, PA, Jewish community, February 2000
- By Linda Eberharter, Bridge Works Publishing, January 2000
- By Marlena Thompson, Washington Jewish Week, December 16, 1999
- By Linda Davis Kyle, "Writers Around the World," August 1998
- By Eva S., "Evenings with Eva," July 21, 1998
- By Ellen Joan Pollock, Wall Street Journal, May 1998 (This article is a follow-up to a 1975 Wall Street Journal article by Mary Bralove.)
- By Risa Molitz, "Fuentes' lecture leads to talk on uniting women," University of Virginia's The Cavalier Daily, October 22, 1997.
- By Frankee Nesta, West Coast Woman, May 1997
- By Sylvia Danovitch, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), December 27, 1990
- “Impressions: The Status of Women in Southeast Asia,” published in the Common Law Lawyer (no longer in existence), Sept.-Oct. 1978. (To enlarge the print on machines using Windows, hold down the control button of your computer while moving the wheel of your mouse. If viewing through Adobe Acrobat, enlarge the text with the plus button, or use the percentage dropdown list.)
- By Betty Friedan, It Changed My Life: Readings on the Women’s Movement, 1976
- By Mary Bralove, Wall Street Journal, May 13, 1975
- Excerpt from Betty Friedan’s article, “Up from the kitchen floor,” NY Times Magazine (March 4, 1973), crediting Sonia with giving her the idea to start an organization to fight for women like the NAACP fought for its constituents.
- Courier-Times, Bucks County, PA, June 25, 1970
- By Dorothy Gilcrest, Anniston (AL) Star, October 21, 1969
- Courant, Hartford, CT, December 7, 1966
- By Louise Hutchinson, "U.S. Hearings To Weigh Sex in the Skies." Sonia drafted the first EEOC decision in these cases finding that airlines violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when they terminated or grounded stewardesses for reaching the age of 32 or 35 or marrying.
- By Sylvia Porter, Post-Crescent, May 28, 1963
- B’nai B’rith Women’s World, November 1959
- By Susie Marbey, The Miami Hurricane, May 10, 1957
Sonia Pressman Fuentes
“Which Holocaust survivors may tell their stories?”
Washington Jewish Week
June 29, 2006
by Adam Levin
Each year, some 1.7 million people visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Of those, thousands hear personal accounts from survivors volunteering their time. Some other survivors, however, believe the museum is wrongly preventing the stories of many more from being heard.
The Speakers Bureau and the First Person program, the museum’s two featured arenas for survivor talks, both operate under a policy that allows survivors to speak through these programs only if they also are museum volunteers.
“We have a special obligation to the volunteers because they devote their time, energy and stories. They give a good part of their life experience to make the museum more authentic,” said Arthur Berger, senior adviser for external affairs. “They also tell about the museum because it’s an important asset of their life. They feel the museum will represent them after they are gone.”
Martin Goldman, the museum’s director of survivor affairs from 1997 to 2005, also believes that the museum owes a debt of gratitude to its volunteers, and he firmly followed the policy during his tenure.
“It is a way of honoring the volunteers and appreciating them,” said Goldman. “Since the volunteers are a part of the museum, they will speak about the museum in a personal way. That’s the official reasoning for using volunteers.”
But the policy has come under fire in recent months. When Edith Cord, a 78-year-old Holocaust survivor and resident of Columbia, decided that she would like to speak about her experiences at the museum, she contacted officials there. Cord was told she would have to first serve as a consistent volunteer at the museum, a commitment Cord could not make because of the travel time required to get to the District.
According to the museum’s Web site, volunteers must contribute one four-hour shift weekly, or one six-hour shift every second weekend for a minimum of three months.
“I thought that volunteering for the Speakers Bureau would be volunteering, but [the museum’s] definition is someone who shows up on a regular basis,” said Cord, a former professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “I would be willing to go through the process to become a speaker. But I cannot come to the museum weekly or every other week to volunteer.”
Cord’s understanding of that policy differs from that offered by museum officials.
“The rationale that I got is that the museum is now an institution and the institution is more important than individual speakers,” said Cord. “It is a matter of politics.”
Sonia Pressman Fuentes, a Holocaust survivor living in Potomac, agrees with Cord’s assessment. Fuentes, an author, met Cord through a friend and was upset by Cord’s recounting of her interaction with the museum.
“The museum should have the best qualified speakers to speak. What does being qualified have to do with being a volunteer?” said Fuentes.
Fuentes decided to look into Cord’s situation. Fuentes spoke with Goldman, Berger and Ellen Blalock, director of survivor affairs and the Speakers Bureau. She was not satisfied with any explanation she heard.
Blalock “said that she did not start this policy, but she believes in it and will continue it. She wants speakers to also be able to discuss resources at the museum,” said Fuentes.
“Goldman’s reason for the policy was that the museum did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. There are 60,000 survivors in the United States, and if all of them wanted to speak at the museum, the museum did not want to hurt their feelings by telling them they are not qualified,” she said, recounting her conversation. “I said, ‘That’s the job of someone at the museum, to make decisions.’ ”
Goldman acknowledged this process, but justified the policy.
“I felt badly that Sonia was upset. To have new speakers, we would have to develop biographies and see them speak,” said Goldman. “I don’t want to be in a position to say to one, ‘You can speak,’ and to another, ‘You can’t speak.’ ”
Goldman also noted that the museum has a large section devoted to oral histories, which is open to any survivor who desires to come in and give testimony.
Some area survivors are defending the museum’s policy.
“If you are a speaker, you have to speak on behalf of the museum and you have to be a part of the museum,” said Silver Spring’s Nesse Godin, co-president of the Jewish Holocaust Survivors & Friends of Greater Washington and a museum volunteer. “You get acquainted with the policy of the museum, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.”
Another local survivor and volunteer agrees. “We will not be here much longer. It is our duty to speak,” Alexandria’s Charlene Schiff said. “But if you speak under the umbrella of the museum, then you must work at the museum.”
Other survivors took less definitive stances, worrying more about the historical accuracy of nonvolunteers.
“I think [the policy] is fair in a sense. I think it is fair not only that it should be just for survivors, but if you allow anyone to speak on the Holocaust, you can get misinformation,” said Martin Weiss, a survivor living in Bethesda who volunteers at the museum and will speak with the First Person program on July 26.
The museum insists that although it may not bring every survivor inside its walls to speak, it has other avenues for fulfilling its mission.
“There is a limit on what we can do, but we want to make sure that no survivor does not have an opportunity. We give survivors the name of a Holocaust institution in their community, and we follow up with a phone call to the institution saying, ‘There is a survivor in your community who wants to speak,’ ” said Berger, who estimates there are around 70 regular volunteers at the museum. “Almost never have we heard someone say this is not the right way to go.”
Others echoed Berger’s sentiments of encouraging nonvolunteers to speak outside the museum. Schiff, a volunteer at the museum since it opened in 1993, said that speaking out is a powerful act regardless of venue.
“Not too many people speak up. The ones that do, what difference does it make if they are under the umbrella of the museum?” said Schiff.
While the museum may provide aid in finding local engagements for survivors to speak, Cord nonetheless believes an aura of authority pervades the museum, which is a federal institution, and its volunteers.
“I do tell my stories in other places,” said Cord. “The volunteers that I know live within traveling distance [of the museum]. They may feel that they are volunteers, so everybody should do the same thing that they are doing. I thought we were all aiming for the same thing. I didn’t make a distinction between the museum and the survivors.”
Fuentes and Cord want the museum policy reformed.
“One of the goals of the museum is to educate people about the Holocaust. One of the ways to educate people is to have a speakers program. Being a speaker has nothing to do with being a volunteer,” said Fuentes. “The museum needs to have a central office that looks for speakers themselves and reviews qualifications.”
Cord wants to see more flexibility. “I think the Department of Survivor Affairs and the survivors should have the same interest,” she said. “I think people are more important than institutions.”
While the two women see the museum’s policy as divisive and elitist, Berger insists that Cord and Fuentes have misunderstood the true spirit of the museum, which he believes is one of inclusiveness.
“We do have an obligation to all survivors, but especially to those who volunteer at the museum, those who have given their own time and energy,” he said. “We have never turned away a volunteer.”