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Evening Book Discussion: The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

March 10 @ 6:30 pm - 7:45 pm

Diane Ackerman tells the remarkable WWII story of Jan Zabinski, the director of the Warsaw Zoo, and his wife, Antonina, who, with courage and coolheaded ingenuity, sheltered 300 Jews as well as Polish resisters in their villa and in animal cages and sheds. Using Antonina’s diaries, other contemporary sources and her own research in Poland, Ackerman takes us into the Warsaw ghetto and the 1943 Jewish uprising and also describes the Poles’ revolt against the Nazi occupiers in 1944. She introduces us to such varied figures as Lutz Heck, the duplicitous head of the Berlin zoo; Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, spiritual head of the ghetto; and the leaders of Zegota, the Polish organization that rescued Jews. Ackerman reveals other rescuers who helped many Jews pass, giving lessons on how to appear Aryan and not attract notice.

Ackerman’s writing is viscerally evocative, as in her description of the effects of the German bombing of the zoo area: …the sky broke open and whistling fire hurtled down, cages exploded, moats rained upward, iron bars squealed as they wrenched apart. This is a suspenseful and beautifully crafted story.

Adapted from Publishers Weekly reivew

Details

Date:
March 10, 2014
Time:
6:30 pm - 7:45 pm
Event Categories:
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Venue

Cady R. Morse Conference Room
2nd Floor, Bethel Public Library

All programs sponsored by the Bethel Public Library are open to the public, and meet accessibility requirements for the disabled. Those needing special arrangements should contact the library at least 2 weeks prior to the program to make arrangements.

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