Friday, October 31, 2008
The Zookeeper's Wife
I just finished reading the sad and inspiring tale about a zookeeper's wife in Poland during WWII. Why was it sad? Because a lot of people died in Poland during WWII, many of them Jews. When I read Night by Elie Wiesel I wanted to cry, vomit, and do my best at removing everything associated with the images it left in my brain (they haunt me still). So I wasn't too enthused about that part of the story, but I will say that Ackerman did a great job in keeping it accurate, but muted. This is by no means a story about Nazi hate and Jews being killed. It's a story about a woman doing everything she can to save her family from the horrors of war.
Oddly, and interestingly, that family included animals. Sure, some of us have pets, but think about taking care of hyena pups. Or a badger. Or a lion. Or an elephant. Then try imagining worrying about those animals (and your own kids) while planes are bombing the city. Yeah, tough job.
Overall, it's a good read. It gives you an inside look at zoo life, the war in Poland, and how luck always seems to find the right people. I'm always amazed at how luck seemed to find the right people at the right time during the war. From family stories of my great-uncle getting shot down over Russia (and surviving) to stories like The Forgotten 500 (a group of Allies that flew out from behind enemy lines).
And that's what the zookeeper and his wife had; luck. And lots of it. They survived the war and kept their family intact.