Friday, July 10, 2009
BOOK REVIEW - THE ZOOKEEPER'S WIFE
I was excited to read this book because the subject matter is very interesting to me. Jan and Antonia Zabinski were owners of the Warsaw Zoo during the German occupation of WWII. The Germans took many of the animals and shipped them to Germany, killed and let many of them go. Jan Zabinski was part of the Polish resistance. This couple hid Jews in the Zoo and their home throughout the war risking their lives, finances and personal comforts to do so. This is more of a documentary than a novel. It is a good overview of all that was going on in Warsaw Poland at this time. I didn’t enjoy some of the animal segments, like the breeding of Bison by the Germans. Parts of the book progressed slowly. Diane Ackerman relied heavily upon diaries kept by Antonia and quotes them throughout the book. I have a lot of admiration for the Polish people who risked so much hiding thousands of Jews or helping them escape. The Zabinski’s saved the lives of 300 Jews during the years of the war and helped countless others with creative ways to escape. I have a clear picture in my mind now of the atrocities of the Warsaw Ghetto. It is not a page turner but a worthwhile read. I would read it again.