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The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
The Zookeeper's Wife tells the story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, zookeepers for the Warsaw Zoo when it was destroyed during Nazi aerial bombardment in 1939. They had lived a bohemian lifestyle before the war, but after the German invasion, Jan joined the Polish resistance. He smuggled food and other items into the Warsaw ghetto and sometimes smuggled people out. The Zabinskis kept a steady stream of friends and family visiting them, providing cover for smuggling Jews in, whom they hid in closets, sheds, and zoo cages. Antonina, fearful that it would fall apart, not only raised her own family during the war, but all the guests and surviving animals as well. Diane Ackerman's book has received positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "A lovely story about the Holocaust might seem like a grotesque oxymoron. But in The Zookeeper's Wife, Diane Ackerman proves otherwise. Here is a true story -- of human empathy and its opposite -- that is simultaneously grave and exuberant, wise and playful. Ackerman has a wonderful tale to tell, and she tells it wonderfully."
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