Zabinski Willa at the Warsaw Zoo

Zabinski Willa at the Warsaw Zoo.

Zabinski Willa was built as official residence in 1931. He moved to the then director of the Warsaw Zoo Jan Żabiński with his family – his wife Antonina, his son Richard (in 1944 the family expanded to include a daughter Tereska). The building is the only one not destroyed during the war and to this day it was introduced only minor changes. Villa Żabińskis is inextricably linked with the fate of the Warsaw Jewish community, as well as its war martyrdom. Within three years of the war the villa was passed hundreds of refugees from the ghetto, many of whom found refuge here, even for many months. Some of them were derived from behind the ghetto wall personally by the Director Żabinski. For his activity marriage Antonina and Jan Żabińscy were honored in 1965 the title of “Righteous Among the Nations.” From 2016. They are awarded badges. Antonina and Jan Żabiński established by the organization From the Depths. They are awarded to Poles who saved Jews during World War II, but for formal reasons (eg. They were children) never received prizes from Yad Vashem.

The rooms was restored Villa atmosphere and climate of the thirties. In the first room should look carefully several gablotom containing rich, interesting specimens of insects. These are priceless collections Szymon Tenenbaum – the world-renowned entomologist Jewish, who in 1940 was closed with his family in the Warsaw ghetto. Its entire collection of around 500 000 specimens of invertebrates had entrusted for safekeeping to his friend – John Żabinski. A collection was overlooked during the robbery of the Warsaw Zoo by SS troops, and in 1944, three weeks before the Warsaw Uprising was transferred to the Zoological Museum. Director Żabiński daring action was able to move out of the ghetto and hide on the Aryan side of the professor’s wife.

On the shelves occupying the entire wall facing the well-preserved book Żabiński, most in German and most of zoology. In the office on the table ashtray original director Żabiński given by his daughter. On the walls and on the desktop family photos.

In the living room stands a piano. In situations of imminent danger, eg. Walking around the Garden of German officers – Antoinette sat down at the instrument and played different songs, which passed the selection of the illegal tenants certain information. Most often it was the signal for all hiding in the basement of the home and that the situation is dangerous and should “disappear”.

Preserved cellars, which were hiding place. Many escapees from the ghetto found refuge here. Years after they testified at Yad Vashem Żabińskis percentage of heroism. Their names are inscribed on the wall.

From the basement of an underground tunnel leading outside the building. On the musical sign Antoinette (usually it was a piece of  beautiful Helena  Offenbach) illegal tenants escape outside the villa to hide among the bushes between bird wolierami.

Today, we can see in the basements of the Salk memory Magdalena Gross, who hiding, filled dłużące hours of sculpting clay animal zoo inhabitants. There are a number of images of the works Mrs. Gross and cast the statue of Tuzinkę – the elephant born in 1937, not only the favorite sculptor, but all the inhabitants of pre-war Warsaw.

In the basement are issued two videos, one represents breathe life into the pre-war Jewish quarter, the second relationship pp. Żabińskis about their activities during the occupation.

The author of arrangement is known production designer Willi – Iza Chełkowska

 Asylum, a marina, the ark – so they said about the Warsaw Zoo those who with the help of the Żabińskis there survived World War II.

Friends Żabińskis called their home in the Villa Loopy star. Before the outbreak of the Second World War interrupted the development of the Warsaw Zoo beautiful in this house almost every floor frequented by representatives of science and the arts – poets, painters, sculptors, professors. He had been here Słonimski, frequented Tuwim, Sztaudynger, Berezowska, Kramsztyk and many other distinguished guests.

She played music, danced, played bridge. Among the guests hasały domesticated animals, and the children played loudly under the table. During the occupation hiding illegal tenants, called by Żabińskis pensjonariuszami re-used under the name Villa Loopy star, but in quite a different meaning now.


Zabinski Willa can be visited only with a guide. The trips should be arranged by telephone 603059758 or email  willa@zoo.waw.pl

No reservation – the first Sunday of the month at 11.00 and 13.00.

Willa can enter at a time up to 25 people. Trip also provides for visits to wine cellars, where Jews were hiding.

Walking is paid 5 zł per person.

The ceremonial opening of the Villa Żabińskis, after extensive renovations, held on 11 April 2015. 

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