In The Zookeeper’s Wife writer Diane Ackerman puts together the stories, and interviews with Jan and Antonina Żabiński to provide her readers with a book about the efforts to save Warsaw’s Jews from Nazi extermination.
Ackerman starts with a detailed story of the Żabińskis’ lifestyle of tending to the animals of Warsaw’s zoo in 1935. Jan, the son of a Polish railroad engineer, has his father’s muscular build but keeps his interest in zoology to get the job of Warsaw’s zookeeper. Antonina grew up under more difficult circumstances, where her father and stepmother were shot to death. Antonina was only a young girl at the time of her parents death and went to go live with her aunt in Warsaw. Antonina meets Jan at Warsaw’s College