The Zookeeper’s Wife

I have a new favorite movie.

I don’t go to movies much, but Vickie urged me to see the Zookeeper’s Wife that she saw on a plane to San Francisco. On the way home I watched it too.


It is about Antonina and Jan Zabinski who ran the zoo in Warsaw when the Nazi’s invaded Poland.

It is a beautifully told story about how this heroic couple saved 3000 Jews from the jaws of Nazi savagery.

The movie is “based on a true story.” I will research the details to sort reality from fiction, but I know there is enough truth in the story the movie depicts that the State of Israel has recognized the Zabinskis as “Righteous Among the Gentiles,” the highest honor the nation can bestow on non Jews for heroic feats of saving Jews during World War II.

The Holocaust testifies to the depths of bestiality to which human beings can descend. But stories like this testify to the heights of heroism to which we can aspire and attain.

The words of Psalm 8 come rushing to my mind.

“What is humanity that You are mindful of them … For You have made them little lower than the angels and have crowned them with honor and glory.” (Psalms 8:6)

Each of us has the potential to attain such a crown, but sometimes it takes courage that nearly defies the imagination to wear it.

In this month of Elul that leads up the sacred season of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur our tradition urges each of us to seek the angel that resides in our soul. This month, more than any other, calls us to reach for and grasp hold of our best selves.

I don’t go to movies much, but I will watch this one again hoping it will help me to reach higher than I have to enhance the “Divine Image” (Genesis 1:26-28) in which each of us was created.



4 thoughts on “The Zookeeper’s Wife

  1. They were brilliantly resourcefull and brave.

    I’m proud to say my Aunt Mildred was a Polish American. It’s something to brag about.


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