Synopsis

War brews over Warsaw in 1939, and while life is still running its course, the Germans are slowly beginning to make their presence felt, with Hitler secretly preparing for the German invasion of Poland. Under those circumstances, the young couple of Jan and Antonina Zabinski continue their daily routine as owners and keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, but soon, as German Luftwaffe’s Stukas hammer the Polish capital, their life’s work together with the city, will turn to ashes. However, with the zoo liquidated for the war effort and many of its animals tragically perished, what was once an animals’ zoo, will now serve as a sanctuary where Antonina, the humanist veterinarian, and Jan can hide the persecuted Polish Jews in plain sight until safe houses are found. That was Jan and Antonina’s formidable, yet perilous plan, who regardless of the consequences, refused to wither before the Nazi menace, took matters into their own hands and sheltered 300 Jews under the Germans’ noses.




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Critics and Reviews

A compelling story bolstered by engaging performances from Jessica Chastain and Daniel Brühl, let down by occasional awkward tonal shifts and clumsy plotting. Full review
Liz Beardsworth
This story is beautifully filmed and important, but it suffers from an affliction that many period films based on a single central figure endure: No one except the main character truly comes alive. Full review
S. Jhoanna Robledo
The Zookeeper’s Wife, based on a true story, is a tender, beautiful, courage-filled movie. It’s also grim, devastating, at times surprisingly graphic for a PG-13 film. Full review
Adam R. Holz

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the zookeeper’s wife a book?

In her poignant new book, Diane Ackerman, the noted nature writer, focuses on Antonina, the “zookeeper’s wife” of the title. But her husband, Jan, lived the more dramatic life. …“The Zookeeper’s Wife” proceeds chronologically, starting before the war, when the Warsaw Zoo was as esteemed as any in Europe

How many people were killed in the Warsaw Ghetto?

The ghetto was enclosed by a wall that was over 10 feet high, topped with barbed wire, and closely guarded to prevent movement between the ghetto and the rest of Warsaw. The population of the ghetto, increased by Jews compelled to move in from nearby towns, was estimated to be over 400,000 Jews.

When was the invasion of Poland?

1939. The German-Soviet Pact of August 1939, which stated that Poland was to be partitioned between the two powers, enabled Germany to attack Poland without the fear of Soviet intervention. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. ThePolish army was defeated within weeks of the invasion.

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