Hear how the Żabiński family saved the lives of countless Jews during the Nazi German occupation.
In September 1939, Nazi Germany began their infamous invasion of Poland and occupied the country shortly thereafter, thus marking the beginning of the Second World War. Amidst all the destruction and loss of human, a nearly unbelievable act of selflessness proved to be a light of humanity that shone through the darkness and desolation of war in, of all places, a zoo.
In this episode, our hosts discuss the remarkable story of Jan and Antonina Żabiński and the Warsaw Zoo. How was this formerly prosperous zoo transformed into a shelter for Jewish refugees escaping the brutality of the Nazis? How was Jan Żabiński able to travel in and out of the Warsaw Ghetto and save so many Jewish people in the process? How were the Żabińskis able to avoid being discovered? Most importantly, what can Jan and Antonina’s daring act of humanity teach us about compassion, altruism and selflessness?
- Jan Zabinski’s Yad Vashem Entry / on YadVashem.org
- Virtual Tour of the Crazy Star Villa / on 360studio.org
- Polish Righteous of The Nations / on Righteous.pl
- The Warsaw Ghetto / on Wikipedia
- Warsaw Zoo / on Wikipedia
- Zookeepers Wife, the book / on Amazon.com
- POLIN: Museum of the History of Polish Jews / official website
- Righteous Among the Nations / on Wikipedia
- House Under a Wacky Star / a virtual exhibition
- Zookeeper’s Wife: Fact vs. Fiction / analysis of the film version on Culture.pl
- Archival photos of the Żabińskis / on Culture.pl
- An Interview with Teresa Żabińska / on Youtube.com
- 'PANDA' Foundation for the Development of the Warsaw Zoo & Ewa Strzyżewska / for kindly agreeing to give us a tour around the villa and tell us the story of the Żabiński family.
- Klara Jackl / co-ordinator from POLIN's web project Polish Righteous: Recalling Forgotten History, who kindly provided us with in-depth knowledge about who the Righteous Among the Nations are.
- Karolina Dzięciołowska / author of the virtual exhibition House Under a Wacky Star, who kindly allowed us to interview her.
- POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews / the wonderful museum that worked with us throughout the process of creating this episode.
SFTEW Team: Wojciech Oleksiak, Adam Zulawski, John Beauchamp, Lea Berriault, Nitzan Reisner, Michael Keller & Weronika Fay.