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Antonina Żabińska (pictured right) and her on-screen alter-ego Jessica Chastain.  Still from the movie The Zookeeper's Wife directed by Niki Caro, 2016. Pictured: Jessica Chastain, photo: United International Pictures Sp z o.o., Antonina Żabińska, 1930', Warszawa. photo: Jerzy Dudek / Forum

Hollywood has a prolific history of spicing up every story they use as the basis for a film script. The Zookeeper’s Wife is hardly an exception, so if you are dying to know which parts of this extraordinary drama are real, Culture.pl has done the fact-checking for you!

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A refuge, a haven, an ark – that is how the people who survived World War II thanks to the Żabiński family remember the Warsaw ZOO. Dr. Jan Żabiński, director of the Warsaw ZOO, and his wife Antonina Żabińska helped save Jews, hiding them in empty cages and pavilions of the Warsaw ZOO as well as in their home. At the same time, they were part of the Polish underground – the ZOO serve as a drop for food, weapons and ammunition.  

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Stills from the movie The Zookeeper's Wife directed by Niki Caro, based on the book by Diane Ackerman.

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