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The Zookeeper's Wife

by Diane Ackerman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,2921932,263 (3.54)313
When Germany invaded Poland, bombers devastated Warsaw--and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into the empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants and refusing to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, even as Europe crumbled around her.… (more)
Recently added byJoeB1934, PagesAgo, katefren, eseals201, ATLee67, Melline, private library
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» See also 313 mentions

English (187)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (191)
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
I gave this book 134 pages and then I just couldn't do it anymore. I really wanted to read this story but there was so much superfluous stuff, that in my opinion did not contribute to the story, that made it a chore to read. The point for me when I gave up was after the 1.25 pages of the names of different types of beetles. ( )
  LittleSpeck | May 17, 2022 |
Somehow I thought this was going to be narrative non-fiction, or historical fiction, or something from Antonina's point of view. Instead, it's an almost newspaper-journalistic treatment of their lives in Warsaw during WWII. Very moving, very horrifying, very well documented. The only thing that threw me is that Ackerman leaves them at the end of the war -- there's a brief wrap-up, but she doesn't talk about their deaths, or go much into detail about their lives after the war -- it's a brief sketch when we've been immersed in the painting. It kind of works, really, to leave them in memory, perpetually ready to start again. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
I had to stop. The little boy had a pig who was his best friend and they took the pig away to be eaten. And that's when I quit. I just can't. It's too sad.
  readingjag | Nov 29, 2021 |
A true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands.
  BLTSbraille | Oct 1, 2021 |
I really loved this book! I always have a hard time revewing these kind of book though, I mean, how do you review someone's efforts during a time like WW2?
Anyway, Jan & Antonina Zabinski live at and run the Warsaw Zoo which is devastated in 1939 when the German Luftwaffe descends on Poland. Since most of the animals are either killed or stolen by the Germans they open up the zoo to hundreds of displaced Jews during the war.
This book is really easy to read despite the subject matter, I found it very hard to put it down! Right up until the end this book gives you a warm, jolly feeling while you're reading it. It's simply a delight to read despite the horrors & I loved reading about the exploits Jan's underground got up to as well. At one stage the zoo was farming pigs for the Germans so Jan started infecting some of the pigs with worms before slaughtering them & then giving the meat to the Germans!!
Anyway, this is definitely a five star read! :O) ( )
  leah152 | Aug 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diane Ackermanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bachman, Barbara M.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bais, AmyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fortún Menor, GloriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Naegele, ChristineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ratchford, PattiCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ravnild, Louise ArdenfeltTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toren, SuzanneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Antonina and her family, human and animal
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At dawn in an outlying district of Warsaw, sunlight swarmed around the trunks of blooming linden trees and crept up the white walls of a 1930s stucco and glass villa where the zoo director and his wife slept in a bed crafted from white birch, a pale wood used in canoes, tongue depressors, and Windsor chairs.
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When Germany invaded Poland, bombers devastated Warsaw--and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into the empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants and refusing to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, even as Europe crumbled around her.

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Book description
Relates the story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, Christian zookeepers at the Warsaw Zoo, who helped save the lives of approximately three hundred Polish Jews during World War II by housing and feeding them on zoo grounds and teaching them how to "pass" as Aryan.
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Average: (3.54)
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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393061728, 039333306X

 

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