Survivor Stefania Sitbon travels back to Poland to show her daughters, where her family was hidden during the war: The Warsaw Zoo. She met Teresa, the Zabinskis’ daughter, and toured the basement she once called home. There, hung on a wall, she found a copy of the picture of her parents from 1947. After the war, the Zabinskis had asked for the photo and put it in the room where her mother stayed to remember Stefania’s parents.
The story of how Jan and Antonina Zabinski provided refuge to hundreds of Jews during World War II, was first told in Diane Ackerman’s book “The Zookeeper’s Wife” and recently through a film with the same title starring Jessica Chastain.
For Stefania, “The Zookeeper’s Wife” is not a film or a book; it’s a memory. Stefania, a 4-year-old Jew in Nazi-occupied Poland spent some time in hiding, living in the basement and cages of the Warsaw Zoo but, when the zoo staff was gone, she and her brother would run around and play. When the German soldiers arrived, Antonina, the zookeeper’s wife, would play the piano as a warning and Stefania and her family would hide in empty animal cages.
Duration: 10 minutes