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The Zookeeper's Wife

Cover of The Zookeeper's Wife

The Zookeeper's Wife

A War Story
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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.

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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  • Diane Ackerman is the author of the bestselling A Natural History of the Senses, Alchemy of the Mind, Cultivating Delight, and Deep Play. She has been a recipient of the John Burroughs Nature Award and the Lavan Poetry Prize and has the unusual distinction of having had a molecule named after her—dianeackerone. She lives in upstate New York.

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    BBC Audiobooks America
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The Zookeeper's Wife
A War Story
Diane Ackerman
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