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2015-03-30

The Żabiński Museum at the Warsaw ZOO

“The House Under the Crazy Star” – that is how a house within the confines of the Warsaw ZOO inhabited by director Żabiński, his wife Antonina and their children was dubbed during World War II. On Saturday, 11 April 2015, the Żabińskis Museum will be opened in the villa. During the war, the couple gave shelter to escapees from the Warsaw Ghetto in the house’s basement and garden facilities.

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Finally, the house will begin to live. It will be open to residents of Warsaw. The organisers proclaim that meetings, lectures and concerts will be held here. The first concert will take place on the opening day and the honorary guest of the event will be Janusz Olejniczak. Subsequent concerts will be held in a series throughout all the year. The cantor of Paris has already announced his performance and so have professors of Polish and foreign musical schools.

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The climate of the pre-war times has been recreated in the house. In the library, there are original books which were read by director Żabiński. In one of the rooms, there is an original piano which Antonina Żabińska used to play to warn Jews.

Amongst those who survived thanks to the Żabińskis were such people as Magdalena Gross, a sculptor, a family of a boxer, Samuel Kenigswein, a co-founder of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Ludwik Hirszfeld, and a writer and journalist, Rachela Auerbach.

In 1965, the Żabińskis were honoured with a medal of the Righteous Among the Nations awarded by the Yad Vashem Institute.

Author: Justyna Filochowska

Source: TVP Warszawa

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