Join the book discussion of The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman on Monday, January 7 at 3 p.m. at the Rockingham Library. Copies of this book are available at the library’s front desk. Elayne Clift, a VHC scholar and widely published author, will be facilitating the discussion
This true story of relates how the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands. When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka 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 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–otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes–and keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.