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Family hid Jews in home and empty animal enclosures

Daughter of Warsaw Zoo directors who saved 300 Jews in Holocaust dies at 77

Zoo says Teresa Zabinska-Zawadzki ‘talked with pride about her parents and their heroism’ made famous in ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’

In this photo dated March 7, 2017, Teresa Zabinska, the daughter of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, prior to the gala screening of 'The Zookeeper's Wife' movie (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz, FILE)
In this photo dated March 7, 2017, Teresa Zabinska, the daughter of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, prior to the gala screening of 'The Zookeeper's Wife' movie (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz, FILE)

WARSAW — The daughter of former Warsaw Zoo directors Jan and Antonina Zabinski, who saved hundreds of Jews from the Holocaust by hiding them at the zoo and whose story was told in the Hollywood movie “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” has died.

The zoo said on its Facebook Sunday that Teresa Zabinska-Zawadzki died the previous night, at age 77. It did not give the cause of her death.

“She always talked with pride about her parents and their heroism,” the zoo said.

It said that after having lived in Denmark, she returned to Warsaw some years ago.

In this Monday, March 6, 2017 photo people walk past the house in which Jan Zabinski and wife Antonina lived during World War II at the Zoo in Warsaw, Poland, and where they saved some 300 Jews from the Nazi occupiers. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Zabinska-Zawadzki was born at the zoo in 1944, under Nazi German occupation of Poland during World War II.

For years during the war her parents saved some 300 Jews by hiding them at their villa on the zoo grounds, or in empty animal enclosures.

The real ‘Zookeeper’s Wife,’ Antonina Zabinski (Yad Vashem)

Zabinska-Zawadzki’s brother Ryszard, who was 12 years older than her, brought food to the people in hiding and was featured in the movie. He died in 2019.

Israel’s Yad Vashem Institute has recognized the Zabinskis as Righteous Among the Nations for having risked the family’s lives in order to save Jewish lives.

In 2017, Zabinska-Zawadzki attended Warsaw’s gala screening of “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” a movie starring Jessica Chastain, about her parents’ heroism.

The movie was based on a 2007 US bestseller book by the same title, written by American author Diane Ackerman, that revealed the story to the world.

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