by Leah Koenig

Jews In Zoos

A True Story About Cages And Survival

In The Zookeeper’s Wife (W.W. Norton, $23.95), Diane Ackerman reveals the savage world created by Nazi Germany — a world that promoted conservation and animal rights while justifying the murder of 11 million people. Under the Third Reich’s pseudoscientific ideology, purebred animals were exalted as “noble, mythic, almost angelic.” Those humans deemed genetically impure, however — primarily Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, Catholics — were stripped of all value and sentenced to death. It is against this unnervingly paradoxical backdrop that Ackerman sets the true story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski.

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