The Zookeeper’s Wife opens in movie theaters in the United States on March 31, 2017. I’ve been waiting for this film for three years. When my husband and I visited Warsaw in October 2013 they were filming it (per our innkeeper.) If you haven’t seen the previews yet, it stars Jessica Chastain in the true life story of Jan and Antonina Żabiński. They were the directors of the Warsaw Zoo when WWII broke out and are credited with saving 300 Jews from certain death. Their story is more timely than ever.
Polish Independence Day is celebrated every year on November 11. In the United States, we celebrate November 11 as Veterans Day. The United Kingdom celebrates November 11 as Armistice Day. The single event all commemorations trace back to is the end of World War I on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies that morning. Poland returned to the map of Europe for the first time in 123 years.
Happy Mother’s Day to Irena Sendler, a Catholic Pole, who smuggled some 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto, from 1939-1943. She was assisted by about two dozen other members of Zegota, the Polish underground, but she alone knew the identities and locations of each child. When arrested and tortured by the Germans, she never revealed a single name. She barely escaped execution by firing squad, when members of Zegota bribed a German guard at the last minute. She passed away on May 12, 2008, at the age of 98.