The Zookeeper's Wife

by Diane Ackerman | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 9780393061727 Global Overview for this book
Registered by HoserLauren of Burlington, Ontario Canada on 9/19/2009
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Saturday, September 19, 2009
I bought this book from the Mississauga Symphony Book Sale.

From Chapters:
Ackerman (A Natural History of the Senses) tells the remarkable WWII story of Jan Zabinski, the director of the Warsaw Zoo, and his wife, Antonina, who, with courage and coolheaded ingenuity, sheltered 300 Jews as well as Polish resisters in their villa and in animal cages and sheds. Using Antonina's diaries, other contemporary sources and her own research in Poland, Ackerman takes us into the Warsaw ghetto and the 1943 Jewish uprising and also describes the Poles' revolt against the Nazi occupiers in 1944. She introduces us to such varied figures as Lutz Heck, the duplicitous head of the Berlin zoo; Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, spiritual head of the ghetto; and the leaders of Zegota, the Polish organization that rescued Jews. Ackerman reveals other rescuers, like Dr. Mada Walter, who helped many Jews pass, giving lessons on how to appear Aryan and not attract notice. Ackerman's writing is viscerally evocative, as in her description of the effects of the German bombing of the zoo area: ...the sky broke open and whistling fire hurtled down, cages exploded, moats rained upward, iron bars squealed as they wrenched apart. This suspenseful beautifully crafted story deserves a wide readership.

Journal Entry 2 by HoserLauren at Toronto, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Before WW2, Warsaw Zoo was a fun place to take children to see both local and exotic animals. Jan and Antonina Zabinski are the caretakers of the zoo, living there with their son Rys. Their house is constantly full of baby or ailing animals as they keep care of them.

Things change when the war starts. The Germans take over Warsaw and set their camp up right outside of the zoo. A German zookeeper they knew from before the war comes and offers to take some of their animals away to German zoos so they aren't harmed, but the couple know this is actually a demand. Life gets more and more difficult, however the Zabinskis recognize the need to help their Jewish friends and neighbours. Soon, rather than housing animals, they are providing a refuge for Jewish families. Some stay for only a couple of days, others for quite a while longer.

The Zabinskis were, quite simply, heros. Yet they didn't look on what they did as heroic at all. Infact they seemed to enjoy the company of their visitors and though there were stressful moments, didn't look at it as troublesome. I'm in awe of this couple and can't believe I hadn't heard their story before reading this book. The book reads almost like a movie. I highly recommend this book!

Journal Entry 3 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Thursday, November 11, 2010
This book is with me now!

Journal Entry 4 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, November 19, 2010
Jan and Antonina Zabinski are the keepers of the Warsaw zoo when WWII starts and Poland is invaded. Their life before the invasion is a life of caring for the animals even to the point of keeping sick animals in their home with them to heal and recover. The Germans move into Warsaw and set up their headquarters right beside the zoo.

As the war progresses and the Warsaw Ghetto is created, the resistance movement becomes stronger and Jan and Antonia become involved. They house many Jews over the course of the war some for longer periods and some for very short periods. They house resistance workers. They use the former houses of the animals and the bombed out structures of the zoo. They had 'lost' their animals to German zookeepers who came and looted the animals.

This is a true story and one can only wonder at the bravery of this couple. This book depicts the hatred of the Germans for not only the Jews but also the Poles. The horror and absolute terror the Germans used is sickening. I did not realize the Germans were also interested in the perfection of certain animal species.

This story is an interesting one but at times the author got bogged down in details of natural history. The insect collection of a Pole was described for pages. I found the writing to be a bit choppy and scattered. I would also have liked to hear more about the
Zabinskis after the war.

Journal Entry 5 by HoserLauren at Toronto, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Mailed today to LoriPed from the NF swap.

Journal Entry 6 by loriped at Keizer, Oregon USA on Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Received this in the mail today and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Thank you also for the beautiful Christmas card. I love the glittery winter scene and the greeting in both English and Korean.

Journal Entry 7 by loriped at Keizer, Oregon USA on Tuesday, April 11, 2017
I finally got around to reading this book, and look forward to seeing how much of the book they put into the movie. There were times that this "story" got dragged down in the details of related events or people. However, since this was a non-fiction book it was easy to skim over some of the extra material and just concentrate on the Jan and Antonina story.

Adding this to the ABC bookbox.

Journal Entry 8 by loriped at Keizer, Oregon USA on Tuesday, August 08, 2017
Mailing out to someone who selected it from a VBB. Enjoy

Journal Entry 9 by BookLovinMama at Arnold, Missouri USA on Wednesday, August 16, 2017
I received this as part of Booklady331's virtual keep them moving book box. Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to read!

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