In Poland on September 1, 1939, the Nazi’s invaded.
Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh) and his wife Antonina (Jessica Chastain) owned the Warsaw Zoo, which after the invasion was done, was bombed and mostly destroyed. They remained in the zoo and turned into a pig farm. The two became active with the Polish underground resistance, and when the Jewish people were hunted down to be put into camps, the Żabiński’s would house would be a welcome spot as the Jewish people would pass through the zoo.
This was a lot easier said than done, as German Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl) would be there every day to check to make sure nothing fishy was going on in this zoo.
The story is based off the book by the same name by poet and naturalist Diane Ackerman, which features excerpts taken from Antonina’s unpublished diary.
The Zookeeper’s Wife releases on March 11, 2017.