The Zookeeper's Wife

  • by Diane Ackerman
  • Narrated by Suzanne Toren
  • 10 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When Germany invaded Poland, bombers devastated Warsaw - and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into the empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants and refusing to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, even as Europe crumbled around her.


What the Critics Say

"Ackerman's writing is viscerally evocative, as in her description of the effects of the German bombing of the zoo area....This suspenseful beautifully crafted story deserves a wide readership." (Publishers Weekly)
"Ackerman's affecting telling of the heroic Zabinskis' dramatic story illuminates the profound connection between humankind and nature, and celebrates life's beauty, mystery, and tenacity." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Tales of strength, disaster, delight, and integrity in war time Poland are spun through the lives of the family who inhabited the "ark" of the Warsaw zoo. Beautifully read and not to be missed.
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- Sara

Excellent book

What did you love best about The Zookeeper's Wife?

The guts of the characters

What other book might you compare The Zookeeper's Wife to and why?


What does Suzanne Toren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

the accent was amazing

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

when the son and mother thought they were going to be shot

Any additional comments?

It was one more point of view about the Holocaust that helps me to see more into a nightmare. I liked seeing it from a Polish perspective.
I loved seeing it through the eyes of the zoo and the animals.

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- Karen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-03-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.