After watching the inspiring and powerful film, The Zookeeper’s Wife, it’s hard to believe such an incredible story actually happened.
It reminded me of watching Schindler’s List, one of my favorite movies of all time.
Over a six-year span during World War II, one brave Christian couple in Poland turned their zoo into an intricate life-saving operation to rescue 300 Jews against all odds.
Antonina and Jan Żabiński were faced with a moral choice after the Nazi invasion. After the bombing, most of their exotic animals were killed or taken away by German zoologists, so the Żabińskis decided to hide Jewish people from the newly-formed Warsaw Ghetto.
I won’t give away too much because it’s well-worth seeing the movie for yourself.
Nationally syndicated radio host and conservative columnist Hugh Hewitt recorded a special on the film, highlighting that true heroism is within us all – it is our bravery, character, and faith that strengthens us and pushes us to commit extraordinary deeds that inspire others.
Stephania Tiroshe, a Holocaust survivor whose family was sheltered by the Zabinski’s, told PEOPLE magazine how they devised a clever system of signals to alert those staying on the property of danger when German soldiers were nearby.
“I remember that we ran around the house when we could, because usually we were in the basement or in the cages,” Tiroshe recalls. “But what I remember most is that the Germans used to come from time to time, and when the people at the gate saw them coming, they gave a signal to the villa and Antonina used to sit by the piano and start to play and my brother and I knew we had to hide. My brother would always say, ‘Come, come, we have to hide so they don’t kill mom.’ ”
Tiroshe’s story is just one of hundreds because of the love, compassion and courage from the Żabińskis in the midst of a horrific situation the world must never forget.
Because of their heroic actions, the Nation of Israel honored the Żabińskis as Righteous Among the Nations.
The Zookeeper’s Wife is now in theaters — you can watch the official movie trailer below: