Sunday, January 18, 2009
The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman
I stumbled across the book, The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman while window shopping at the bookstore across the street (yes, I was so excited moving into my new apartment when I realized that I could literally walk across the street and into bookstore - heaven!).
The Zookeeper's Wife reads like a novel but is in all actuality a superbly written historical volume, complete with bibliographies and an appendix filled with further information on the subjects in the story. Ackerman tells the story of a zookeeper and his wife who hid Jews from the Nazi regime in their Warsaw zoo. Guests are given animal code names as they hide in animal cages and habitats, and animals are given human names all in the effort to deceive the occupying Nazi forces. Their story is frequently accented with intriguing nuggets of historical information on the inner workings of the Nazis and their quest for a resurgence of classical Germany - which not only included a pure Aryan race, but the little know effort to restore native German plants and even extinct German animals. The Nazis truly wanted only 'pure' Germany to remain and were working to remove any traces of human, plant or animal life that was alien.
You will be amazed not only by the wealth of research you will find in this book but by the eloquence with which it is communicated. The story is so intriguing and I am amazed that it's subject matter has not been written about before this point - and I am sure we will be seeing a movie soon in theater's about this amazing true-to-life story.