The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story

Diane Ackerman, Author . Norton $23.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-393-06172-7

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. 8 pages of illus. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/23/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Paperback - 368 pages
Hardcover - 487 pages - 978-1-4104-0349-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-5018-5
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-60514-525-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-60283-477-4
Paperback - 485 pages - 978-1-59413-296-4
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-393-06935-8
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-1-905847-46-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-0-7927-6606-3
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-7927-5129-8
Paperback - 384 pages
MP3 CD - 978-1-4708-2144-9
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