LET ME TELL YOU AN AMAZING AND TRUE STORY:
Dr. Jan Zabinski was the director of the Warsaw Zoo before and during the WW II. Despite the enormous problems he faced as the director of a zoo during wartime, he was not blind to the suffering of the Jews. When the Warsaw ghetto was established Jan and his wife, Antonina, began helping their Jewish friends. As an employee of the Warsaw municipality he was allowed to enter the ghetto. Under the pretext of supervising the trees and small public garden within the ghetto area, he visited his Jewish acquaintances and helped them as best as he could. As the situation in the ghetto deteriorated, he offered them shelter.
In 2008 Diane Akerman wrote a book, "The Zookeeper's Wife":
"A true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands. When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka 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 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—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes."
On October 17, 2008, Zabinski and his wife Antonina were among 70 Poles honored for their courage and heroism with one of the highest Polish medals - Polonia Restituta. Two of the Zabinski children - Ryszard and Teresa - accepted the posthumous award on behalf of their parents.
There is also a fim made upon this story:
Gary Lester’s latest Holocaust documentary, Safe Haven: The Warsaw Zoo, opened to a capacity crowd in Lake Mary, Florida on Saturday, April 4, 2009.