Movie to tell WWII story of Jews saved in Warsaw zoo

The Zookeeper’s Wife is based on a non-fiction book by Diane Ackerman, published in the United States in 2007.

By NISSAN TZUR
May 7, 2013 20:58
1 minute read.
NEW ZEALAND director Niki Caro

NEW ZEALAND director Niki Caro370. (photo credit: Will Burgess/Reuters )

New Zealand film director Niki Caro is about to begin work on a movie titled The Zookeeper’s Wife that tells the story of how Jews were saved from the Nazis in Warsaw’s zoo during World War II.

The Zookeeper’s Wife is based on a non-fiction book by Diane Ackerman, published in the United States in 2007. The book tells the story of Jan Zabinski, the director of the Warsaw Zoo, and his wife, Antonina. During World War II, shortly after the German air force destroyed the zoo and killed most of the animals, the couple used the empty animal cages to smuggle more than 300 Jews out of Warsaw.

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Jan and Antonina Zabinski also gave shelter to hundreds of Jews in their villa located on the zoo’s grounds, helping to save their lives. Yad Vashem honored the couple in 1965 as Righteous Among the Nations.

Antonina died in 1971 and her husband in 1974. On February 10, 2008, Diane Ackerman’s book The Zookeeper’s Wife was No. 13 on The New York Times non-fiction best-seller list. In the same year, the book received the Orion magazine book award.

The screenplay has been written by Angela Workman and, according to The Hollywood Reporter American actress Jessica Chastain is to play the role of Antonina.

Chastain gained fame after starring roles in several movies in recent years, and has been nominated for film awards, including an Academy Award for her role in the movie The Help and two nominations for the Golden Globe. In 2012, Time magazine named her one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Caro gained fame after her 2002 movie Whale Rider won a number of awards at international film festivals.



Several sources close to the production said the project was expected to premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival next year.


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