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The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story
by Diane Ackerman | History
Registered by silverstarry of Berkeley, California USA on 10/3/2017
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Journal Entry 1 by silverstarry from Berkeley, California USA on Tuesday, October 03, 2017

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Although this account is based on the wife's memoirs, a more accurate title for this book would be The Zookeeper's Family. The author recounts the story of Jan Żabiński (director of the Warsaw Zoo), his wife Antonina, and their young song Ryś. Jan was part of the Polish underground resistance. After the Germans stole many of their animals and killed the rest, Jan convinced a Nazi official to let them run a pig farm to provide meat to the army. He collected scraps around town, which gave him the opportunity to move about freely, passing along messages and helping people. Over the course of the way, three hundred people hid at the zoo, some for only a few days en route to escaping Warsaw, others for much longer. As Jan was gone all day, Antonina was the one left to care for all of their guests and keep them safely hidden from the Germans. She gave them code names, arranged signals to tell them when to hide, and found ways to feed everyone without drawing attention to the zoo.  

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