The Nazi Beast at the Warsaw Zoo: Animal Studies, the Holocaust, The Zookeeper’s Wife, and See Under: Love

  • Naomi Sokoloff


During the Holocaust, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Żabiński aided some 300 Jews in escaping from the Warsaw Ghetto. Diane Ackerman’s best-selling account of these events, The Zookeeper’s Wife, appeared in 2007. In 2017, a film adapted from her book was released to great success. Israeli author David Grossman’s attention to this topic preceded the film and the book by many years. In his novel See Under: Love, Grossman introduces a series of anecdotes built around the Warsaw Zoo as a site of rescue and refuge for persecuted Jews. A comparative analysis of Grossman’s fiction, Ackerman’s creative non-fiction, and the recent cinematic version of The Zookeeper’s Wife demonstrates how these different artistic responses to the Holocaust, in different genres, wrestle with concepts of humanity and humaneness.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naomi Sokoloff
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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