Tag Archives: nazis

Movie Review – The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

War!  Intrigue!  Nazis vs. Zoo animals!

BQB here with a review of The Zookeeper’s Wife.

Based on a true story, this film tells the tale of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, owners/operators of the Warsaw Zoo who used their property to save persecuted Jews during World War II.

Before the war, Jan (Johan Heldenburgh) and Atonina (Jessica Chastain), live an idyllic life.  They love animals and they take care of zebras, elephants, lions, tigers, all sorts of exotic animals on their sprawling property.  They even do a good business, charging admission.

Alas, all this changes because of the Nazis.  Oh you dirty Nazis, you’re always the turd in history’s punch bowl, aren’t you?

The Zabinskis’ zoo is partially destroyed by Nazi bombs dropped all over the city.  What’s left is confiscated.  The animals are shot and turned into meat and soap for the Nazi war effort.

Sidenote:  Whether it’s during World War II or more recently in Venezuela, once the government resorts to shooting zoo animals for food, shit is not good.

Back to the review.  Long story short, what’s left of the zoo is turned over to Lutz Heck (Daniel Bruhl), a German zoologist who had once been a friend of the Zabinskis in happier times.  Sadly, once Lutz puts on a Nazi uniform and becomes Hitler’s official zoologist, he gets a little too drunk on power and becomes an insufferable douchen-dorfer.

You know you want to see this movie just because the villain is a Nazi zoologist, don’t you?

Anyway, being the good people that they are, the Zabinskis begin rescuing and hiding their close Jewish friends.  Pretty soon, they realize that with underground tunnels once used to house tigers, buildings and trucks, they have all the means necessary to run a Jewish rescue/hiding/smuggling to safety operation.

The danger comes from the fact that they must do all this right under the nose of their ex-friend turned Nazi.

Will the Zabinskis be successful?  Will they be caught?

You’ve got to watch to find out.

Overall, it’s a touching story.  So many stories came out of WWII and they continue even today.

Much credit is due to the Zabinskis.  They probably could have relied on their friendship with a Nazi to ride out World War II by just keeping their heads down and going about their business.  Instead, they put themselves into great danger and in doing so, saved the lives of hundreds of people.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  A good movie, sort of an Oscar-bait film designed to show off Jessica Chastain’s acting chops.  Not necessary to rush out to the theater but it’s worth a rental.

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Guardian Article About Joseph Goebbels’ 105 Year Old Secretary

Hey 3.5 readers.

Just wanted to share an interesting article I read in The Guardian:

“Joseph Goebbels’ 105-year-old secretary: ‘No one believes me now, but I knew nothing.’”

The article features an interview with Brunhilde Pomsel, who worked as a secretary for Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda during World War II.

At 105, Pomsel is a living bit of history. The article describes her as unrepentant, that her job as a secretary was just like any other job, that “a combination of ignorance and awe” “shielded her from reality.”

She discusses how after the war she was jailed by the Russians for five years.  Only then, she claims, did she learn about the holocaust.

The article further explains that she had a friendship with a Jewish woman but wasn’t able to find out what happened to her until she visited the Holocaust Memorial in 2005.

Interesting quote:

“Those people nowadays who say they would have stood up against the Nazis – I believe they are sincere in meaning that, but believe me, most of them wouldn’t have.”

I don’t know. Obviously, I can’t/don’t want to condone Nazi-ism or even working in the Nazi typing pool but I guess the fraulein might have a point. If that was where you lived and you needed a job and you weren’t exactly working for people who shared all the details…and if standing up to them meant you’d surely end up taking the big dirt nap…

I have no idea. I don’t want to pin a medal on her or anything but from a historical perspective the article is interesting and I imagine A German Life, the film in which she recalls her story, has a lot of history told by a rare person still alive who lived during that time period.

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