The Zookeeper's Wife

The Zookeeper's Wife

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1939: the Germans have invaded Poland. The keepers of the Warsaw zoo, Jan and Antonina Zabinski, survive the bombardment of the city, only to see the occupiers ruthlessly kill many of their animals. The Nazis then carry off the prized specimens to Berlin for their program to create the "purest" breeds, much as they saw themselves as the purest human race. Opposed to all the Nazis represented, the Zabinskis risked their lives by hiding Jews in the now-empty animal cages, saving as many as three hundred people from extermination. Acclaimed, best-selling author Diane Ackerman, fascinated both by the Zabinskis' courage and by Antonina's incredible sensitivity to all living beings, tells a moving and dramatic story of the power of empathy and the strength of love.A Focus Features release, it is directed by Niki Caro, written by Angela Workman.
Publisher: New York :, W.W. Norton
Copyright Date: ♭2007
ISBN: 9780393354263
Branch Call Number: Online eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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xxzz
May 13, 2019

A hodge-podge combination of zoology, history, and thoughts from and based on a diary. Vey sad. A breeze to read. The movie was frightening - would the terror ever end. Did not know there had been and is now a zoo in Warsaw. Knew about the one in Berlin.

l
Liber_vermis
May 02, 2019

The author needed a good editor with a blue pencil to trim this historical account from 320 pages to 250 pages (the author goes off on too many tangents). With many bizarre words and phrases, I checked Diane Ackerman's background in Wikipedia to confirm her mother tongue was English (and that the book was not translated). For some reason, this story of catastrophic circumstances just didn't resonate with this reader. The book concludes with brief endnotes, a lengthy bibliography (although some memoirs and histories mentioned in the text are absent); and an index.

j
julia_sedai
Feb 22, 2019

I read this for book club. I wasn't really looking forward to another WWII book but it was really interesting. It's more of a collection of stories and ideas rather than about one main person. If you are interested in history it's a good read. I learned a lot and feel that it was worth reading just for that. At times the sheer horror of what was happening came across so strongly that I teared up. I liked the author's poetic language and ability to take facts and make it interesting to read. I haven't watched the movie, but I don't think it's like the book at all.

Charming and engrossing book. This was a treat to read, and I now want to visit Warsaw.

l
Linyarai
Dec 03, 2018

I struggled to read this, I found it extremely slow and I felt like it could have been half it's length and still told the same story.

t
Tica77
Dec 02, 2018

Although the style of this book is not the best, the story itself is worth reading. Based on a true story, it shows the courage of a couple of Polish zookeepers to save over 300 Jews from death during World War II. Getting caught meant certain death and yet their principles and determination gave them the courage to act according to their conscience. For Hollywood to make this into a motion picture is a testament to a cause which is unfortunately still current.

r
rpavlacic
Mar 27, 2018

Back when Jerry Springer had a serious talk show (real topics with real guests), he had an episode where he reunited Jews who sought escape from the Holocaust with the families who risked their lives to shelter them until the war was over. At the end of the episode, Springer related the story of his parents' escape from Amsterdam to London ... and concluded by saying that real heroes aren't those who are in the line of duty or help people get out of burning cars. "Sometimes," he said, "they just open their doors."

"The Zookeeper's Wife" tells the story of two of the many "Righteous Gentiles" who put their careers and lives on the line to help Jews, in this case occupied Poland ... where the mere act of giving a Jew a glass of water earned one the death penalty. Having had their zoo's animals raided by the Nazis shortly after the occupation, the couple decided to open their doors to more than 300 people, mostly Jews but also some resistance fighters - and the creative ways they made sure their guests stayed alive. Antonina Żabińska has sometimes been called the female Oskar Schindler, and her story would be incredible except for the fact it is true.

A great story about heroism in the darkest places and times, although it is graphic at times.

t
terynprice
Mar 05, 2018

As I'm in the middle of this book, that it is so difficult to get through to the next page and finally reading reviews on it I'm realizing I should have done that first. I knew this was a great book from this background but the author makes this a very very very difficult read.

d
dollface_1
Feb 20, 2018

I read a lot of books from this time period, but this is the first one that I definitely struggled to finish. The writing style was full of historical 'don't necessarily need-to-know' facts surrounded by suppositions about what the main characters 'may have' said or done. I haven't seen the movie, but maybe I would enjoy it more than I did the book.

p
peacebenow
Oct 29, 2017

A look a WWII through the eyes of the Zoo and people in Warsaw, Poland. Devastating details portrayed. Sometimes I got lost in this book. The details of personalities and the depths people went to help their fellow citizens was enlightening and heartwarming. People can be resilient and resourceful. Good thankfully out does evil but at such a high price. Maybe this is obvious from WWII history but in todays' world it seems important to be reminded.

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AbigailCurious Jan 27, 2015

Violence: It describes the brutality of the nazis, sometimes in great detail.

AbigailCurious Jan 27, 2015

Frightening or Intense Scenes: It has moments where you can be truly frightened, and believing that characters may have died.

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Liber_vermis
May 02, 2019

"A zoo without animals equaled a waste of land to the Nazis, who decided to build a fur farm on the [Warsaw Zoo] grounds. Not only would the fur warm German soldiers fighting on the eastern front, ... extras could be sold to help finance the war. For efficiency they put an elderly bachelor Pole in charge of it [who was] used to living alone with fur farm animals. ... By far the most eccentric human in the [zoo's staff house], "Fox Man" arrived with a female cat, Balbina ... every time Balbina had kittens, Fox Man would snatch them from the basket and replace them with newborn foxes for her to nurse. ... According to breeders, a female fox should only nurse a few pups at one time, to ensure all grow thick, healathy coats; using Balbina as a wet nurse for the extra pups struck [Fox Man] as an ideal if somewhat impish solution." (p. 190-191)

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cknightkc
Apr 24, 2017

“Dozens of statues and monuments grace Warsaw's streets, because Poland is a country half submerged in its heavily invaded past, fed by progress, but always partly mourning.” - p. 322

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AbigailCurious Jan 27, 2015

AbigailCurious thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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