Joined: 27 Nov 2011
Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:20 pm
Post subject: Bisons and Jews in the Warsaw Zoo
This documentary was originally produced in Polish and now available in English
In late 1939, as the Germans occupied Warsaw, the city zoo became a sanctuary for hundreds of Polish Jews, who were hidden in the lions' cages by Jan and Antonina Zabinski, the keepers of the zoo. Most of those who were hidden were ultimately smuggled out of the country to freedom. But there's a dark parallel tale within this story: while the Zabinskis were helping to save a race of people from extermination, Germany's eminent zoologist, Lutz Heck, had commandeered the Warsaw zoo in order to try and re-introduce, through rudimentary genetic engineering, an extinct species of ox known as the aurach.
Produced by David Mairowitz and Malgorzata Zerwe. You can listen to it here
There is also a 29 minute documentary that can be viewed here...
ShelliePO Top Contributor & Patron
Joined: 18 Feb 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:31 am
Thanks China56 - I am anxious to view the documentary!
The story of Jan and Antonia Zabinski is also highlighted in THE ZOOKEEPER'S WIFE: A WAR STORY by Diane Ackerman.
Discription from Amazon.com:
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.
With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us viscerally in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers, and their hidden visitors. She shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her. 8 pages of illustrations.