When WWII broke out, one Catholic family sheltered hundreds of Jews in Warsaw.
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The true story behind the 2017 major motion picture The Zookeeper’s Wife is the focus of an upcoming documentary. The film,titled Of Animals and Men, is scheduled for release in theaters across the U.S. on June 22, 2021.
Of Animals and Men tells the story of the selfless efforts of Jan and Antonina Żabiński to protect Jews from persecution by the Nazis. The Catholic family’s work in the Warsaw underground saved the lives of 300 people. Antonina Żabińska, the subject herself, narrates the documentary.
The film utilizes archived footage of the zoo from before the war, which is juxtaposed with shots of Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Included in the documentary are interviews with survivors and reenacted scenes with the animals. There are also a shots of the real Żabiński family at the zoo and their villa.
Of the documentary, Czajka said in a press release:
“The story of the Żabiński family, their wartime actions, their villa in the Warsaw Zoo and the people they saved is very important to me,” said director Łukasz Czajka. “I’ve had this story on my mind for a few years, and I just had to tell it.”
Of Animals and Men originally was released in 2019, just prior to the world pandemic. Now, as theaters are reopening, Fathom, its distributor, is ensuring this important film receives a wide audience. Tickets are already on sale for this limited release.