Study Guide

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story Chapter 4

By Diane Ackerman

Chapter 4

  • On September 1, 1939, airplanes buzz over the zoo.
  • Antonina and Jan, relieved that Ryś is staying in another town, decide to leave the zoo for a nearby village.
  • However, on the way, a bomb hits the street in front of our heroes. They decide to turn back.
  • Good idea.
  • Back at the zoo, Antonina and Jan try to find a place to go. One where hopefully the road hasn't been bombed to oblivion.
  • Jan sends Antonina to a resort village. When the bombs fall, go soak at a spa.
  • But on the way, German aircraft attack again.
  • Antonina survives and makes it to the resort, which is now "a ghost town" (4.18). Who is going to give her a massage?
  • Jan arrives a few days later and tells Antonina it's probably safe to go back.
  • So the two go back to the zoo.
  • Sadly, Jan was totally wrong about it being safe. The zoo has been damaged in attacks, ruining buildings and hurting many animals.
  • Jan and Antonina do the best they can to care for the animals remaining, but on September 7, they are forced to evacuate. Bye, zoo.