The Zookeeper’s Wife

On Sunday 14th May 2017 at the Regent Street Cinema, Learning from the Righteous hosted a special screening of The Zookeeper’s Wife, a film based on events that happened during World War 2 at the Warsaw Zoo. As members of the underground resistance, directors Jan and Antonina Żabiński sheltered about 300 Jews in the abandoned animal cages of the zoo and in the basement of their villa home.

The screening was followed by a Q & A session with Holocaust survivor Moshe Tirosh, who was given shelter at the Zoo when he was a child. It was the first time Moshe had spoken in the United Kingdom about his experiences.

The Zabinskis and Villa

Moshe(circled), was born Mieczyslaw Kenigswein in Warsaw in 1937. The friendship between his family and the Żabińskis went back many years. The Kenigsweins were smuggled out of the ghetto and given shelter for three weeks at the Zoo. The children were in the basement of the villa while their parents were in the back of an empty aviary.

Tirosh family

“I was a child of war and well-trained at keeping quiet for hours, but under Antonina’s protection, I told my mother, ‘I think we’ll be all right here’. She and Jan risked their lives to save Jews like me,” he said, “and I will always be grateful. I have a large family in Israel and when we gather together I always think of what the Żabińskis did”.

Moshe and Grandson

Moshe also spoke at events the charity held in conjunction with ORT UK and the Everyman Cinema.

HONOURING TADEUSZ STĘPNIEWSKI

Learning from the Righteous also honoured Dr Tadeusz Stępniewski, who was posthumously awarded the title, ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ in early 2017. As a member of Żegota, the Council to Aid Jews, he provided medical care and refuge for many residents of the Warsaw Ghetto. He was a close colleague of Irena Sendler and contributed to the survival of many by performing a surgical procedure that hid the evidence of circumcision, enabling Jews to pass as non-Jews.