Sonia Shevelevna Litvak was born in Novohrad-Volyns’kyy in 1925. Her father, Sheylik, as well as paternal grandfather, Yerikhem, were born in Novohrad-Volyns’kyy. According to Sonia's father, the family originally came from Spain and then to Lithuania.
Litvak’s maternal grandfather Leybl married her grandmother Etl, who was a folk-healer. Sonia's mother Leyke worked occasionally as a freelance seamstress. Her paternal grandfather, father, and brother worked in a tannery, as a hat-maker, and as a tailor, respectively. Sonia had four siblings: Etl, Nume, Dvoyre (who died at four years of age during the famine), and Leybe (Leybl, who was born during the 1933 famine). Sonia's paternal grandmother, Malke, was killed during the war in the town of Romaniv along with many other family members.
Sonia was educated in Soviet Yiddish schools. In the post-war period, Litvak worked in various kindergartens as curricular administrator, and was also employed in a textile factory for some time. Her first son was born in 1950. Litvak and her husband lived for four years in Germany in the 1960s, during which time she worked in the cultural department of the Soviet consulate.
The Head of the Fish
The Fur Coat