Study Guide

Maurycy Pawel Fraenkel in The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story

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Maurycy Pawel Fraenkel

Ham Ham Heartbreak

Maurycy Pawel Fraenkel is someone for whom "the unbearable weight of ghetto life had physically crippled him" (23.5). That statement could apply to almost anyone who flees the Ghetto for the zoo, but Maurycy appears deformed as a result of the stress, making him an extreme case.

He is also memorable for caring for Antonina while she's ill, and for befriending a hamster named Piotr. Hey, his middle name is Pawel. In English, they would be Peter and Paul. Just find Mary, and they could summon Puff the Magic Dragon to blow away Hitler.


Maurycy doesn't feature too much in the book, but we are told that he married Magdalena after the war. At one point, Antonina writes that "War didn't sunder people […] it could also intensify friendships and spark romances; every handshake opened a door or steered fate" (15.17). Maurycy and Magdalena's love proves that is true.

And because you were totally wondering, that big bad name is pronounced mau-REE-tsee PA-vel FREN-kel. Yes, we know everything.

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