Jan Zabinski and Antonina Zabinski, Holocaust Rescue Heroes, teachers, authors, Zookeepers, & Musicians: Madeline’s Monthly Tips Blog/Article for March 2018

Our Radio Show and blog celebrate the extraordinary life and work of Jan Zabinski and Antonina Zabinska, Holocaust Rescue Heroes of WWII, teachers, authors, zookeepers, and musicians. Included are three articles on the power of classical music for education and healing.

Our article of the month is “Home Run Customer Service” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM. March is music in our schools.

Radio Show Feature Question for March 2018: How did Jan and Antonina Zabinski use music to help shelter their “guests” from the Warsaw Ghetto and what musical instrument did they play?



Jan Zabinski was born on April 8, 1897 in Warsaw, Poland to Józef Żabiński and Helena Strzeszewska Żabiński.  They taught Jan to “love animals”. At a young age he began studying the piano.

In 1919, he joined the Polish Army and in 1920 was part of the Polish-Soviet War.  Jan went on to become an agricultural engineer earning a Doctoral degree in Zoology from the “Institute of Zoology and Physiology of Animals of the  Warsaw University of Life Sciences”.  He was teaching at the Institute when he met Antonina Erdman. He became director of the Warsaw Zoo in 1929.  Jan Zabinski also studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, “played the piano, and wrote many books”.

Antonina Erdman was born on July 18, 1908 to Maria and Antoni Erdman, a Polish couple working in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her father, Antoni, was a railway engineer. Antonina began studying the piano at an early age. When she was a small child her mother died of tuberculosis and her aunt raised her. She learned several languages. She also enjoyed painting, “was passionate about animals”, and “learned how to read people”.

Later at 14 she joined her father, Antoni and her new stepmother in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Her father and stepmother were murdered by “a gang of revolutionaries”.


After their deaths, Antonina’s grandmother sent her to study piano full time at the city’s Conservatory and to study at a school in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She graduated at the age of fifteen and “they moved to Warsaw and Antonina took classes in foreign languages, drawing, and painting.”

She taught piano, “passed an archivist’s exam”, then worked preserving history and records at the “Institute of Zoology and Physiology of Animals of the Warsaw University” where she met Jan Zabinski, a teacher there. He was eleven years older. (“The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story” by Diane Ackerman, based on Antonina Zabinska’s Diary and notes.)


Jan Zabinski and Antonina Erdman had many common interests. They were married in 1931 and moved to a Villa at the Warsaw Zoo.  Antonina Zabinski wrote in her memoirs “she had entered her private paradise”.  At the Warsaw Zoo there were 1,500 animals.

Antonina helped “to run the facility, she hand-reared orphaned lynx, lion, and wolf cubs and chimpanzees in the family home” at the zoo.


Dr. Jan Zabinski, the “director, was proudest of the extremely rare wild Polish Przewalski horses, of which there were only about 100 in the world. In 1932, a lynx (“rys” in Polish) was born in the zoo”. The Zabinskis’ decided to call their son, Rys.


September of 1939 Germany invaded Warsaw and Dr. Jan Zabinski was “appointed Superintendent of the public parks” by the Nazis . Lutz Heck, German zoologist, Nazi, and former friend moved many animals from Jan and Antonina’s Zabinski’s Warsaw Zoo to his Berlin Zoo.

Antonina Zabinski wrote in her Diary of “Luz Heck, carting off the family’s beloved camels, llamas, hippos, lynxes and even the orphaned calf of dead elephant Kasia, he returned drunk with a rabble of SS pals. He led them on a sickening “hunting party” inside the zoo.”

“Antonina and son Rys cowered inside their home as they listened to the sound of boozy laughter, gunshots — and the screams of animals dropping in cages. She wrote in her diary: “It was sheer gratuitous slaughter . . . how many humans will die like this in the coming months?”

“It was then that Antonina and Jan resolved to use the zoo to save as many people as they could, despite the penalty of death for such assistance.” They decided to use their home, villa, and zoo, pens, cages, stalls, and underground tunnels to hide, shelter, feed and protect Jews. For three years, over three hundred Jews were taken care of and protected by the Jan, Antonina, and their eight-year-old son Ryszard.

As the Superintendent of Parks, Jan was allowed to visit the Warsaw Ghetto “to inspect the state of the flora within the ghetto walls.” He continued his contacts with “Jewish colleagues and friends before the Nazi invasion” helping them escape and sheltering them by transporting them to his Villa at the Warsaw Zoo. If you gave a glass of water to a Jewish person or helped a Jewish person, you and your family would be given the death penalty. “Antonina always kept cyanide capsules at the ready, in case they” needed to take them.

Dr. Zabinski persuaded the Nazi’s “to turn the zoo into a pig farm” to raise pigs for the German soldiers to eat. Jan entered the “ghetto to pick up unused scraps to feed the animals”. He also brought in, pork, tref — nonkosher food” to feed the starving people in the ghetto. Then he would smuggle “out people ”  putting them under the scraps he picked up from the ghetto for the pigs at the Zoo Farm.


Regina Tirosh remembers, Dr. and Mrs. Zabinski welcomed their guests “with a bottle of vodka in hand and showed them to their new home in the basement.”

Antonina Zabinski would warn their guests to hide and be silent when the Nazi’s were at her door by playing loudly on her piano “Go To Crete” from Offenbach’s operetta, La Belle Helena.”  

They hid “in the attic, wardrobes, a basement tunnel, bushes and animal cages.”

When the coast was clear Antonina would play a Chopin Mazurka.

The Zabinski’s had an ‘animal code name” for each of their guests. They gave them a nickname “to avoid suspicion from outsiders”. Magdalena Gross, the sculpture, was called “starling”.

Antonina Zabinski wrote in her Diary, she nicknamed Magdalena ‘The Starling’: ‘She would whistle, as starlings do, at her plight.’


Jan Zabinski as a member of the Polish Underground:

As a member of the Polish underground Jan was injured during the Polish Uprising and became a German prisoner in 1944 and was sent to a prisoner-of -war-camp. Antonina gave birth to their second child and continued their work taking care of the needs of the guests in her care.

Jan Zabinski survived the German prison camp and came home to his family in 1945. He and Antonina worked to rebuild their Zoo and remained there through 1951. Jan authored 60 science books. Antonina Zabinska wrote children’s books “always from the point of view of the animals” and she published in 1968 her book of memoirs in Polish as “My Green Kingdom”.  Today the family home at the Warsaw Zoo is a museum.

Yad Vashem in Israel on September 21,1965 honored Jan Zabinski and his wife Antonina Zabinska as “Righteous Among the Nations” for saving Jews during the Holocaust. On October 30, 1968 Dr. Jan Zabinski planted a tree in the Mount of Remembrance.”

Antonina Erdman Zabinska died on March 19, 1971 in Warsaw, Poland at the age of 62. Her husband Jan Zabinski died on July 26, 1974 in Warsaw, Poland at the age of 77.

https://www.biography.com/news/zookeepers-wife-true-story   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4241900/Jews-forced-hide-zoo-cages-escape-Nazis.html


“Home Run Customer Service” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

How is the customer service at your business? Are your associates well- trained and do they work as a team? Are they knowledgeable and eager to share the information on your products?

Visit to an Apple Store: Last weekend my husband and I went to the Apple store in MacArthur Center in Norfolk, Virginia at 11am to purchase several Apple products we had researched. The store was very crowded with customers when we arrived. At the door of the Apple store, an Associate wearing an Apple logo shirt, greeted us with a smile of welcome, and remembered us from our last visit. She tapped in our name into her Apple phone screen sending an email to another associate to assist us.

A minute later, one of the 11 associates in the store, smiled, and asked us what we needed after shaking our hands and introducing themselves. When the associate didn’t know the answer they quickly excused themselves and asked another associate for assistance and came back with the information within two minutes.

We made our purchases in less than 15 minutes. We bought an Apple TV Package, a cable to connect the Apple TV, and an Apple watch band.

What 3 things made the customer service a “Home Run” for us?

1) We immediately liked our sales associate with their positive attitude and trusted them.

2) The sales associate “listened” to what we wanted and needed in the Apple product and told us the benefits of the product and how much it would cost. The sales associate had the solution to our problem.

3) The associate had a passion and eagerness to share their knowledge of their Apple products with us. The associate knew everything about their products and if they did not know the answer to our question they quickly excused themselves and asked another associate for assistance and came back with the information within two minutes.

What are three steps you need at your business to have “Home Run” customer service?

1) Your well-trained associates “greet” your customers at the door with a smile, wearing your store uniform to identify them, (Apple logo on shirt), introduce themselves, ask for your customers name, shake their hand, and ask what service the customer needs.

2) Your associates eagerly and politely assist your customers as quickly as possible. We were assisted within “a minute”. When your associate does not know the answer to your customers question, they quickly excuse themselves, and ask another associate for assistance and come back with the information within two minutes.

3) Your business should have enough well-trained associates to help your customers. There were 11 well-trained associates at the Apple Store each in charge of different aspects of the sale. One associate brought the products to us. The well- trained associates at the Apple worked together as a team.

To have “Home Run” customer service at your business just like the Apple Store, train your associates following the above 3 steps and your business will have “Home Run ” customer service too!

If you need a speaker contact Madeline at: mfrankviola@gmail.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9825501

“Can Listening to Classical Music Improve Your Life?” by Clemency Burton-Hill (Jan. 17, 2018) from the BBC. “We have never needed more urgently the emotional space that music — and classical music in particular — can provide.”


At Children’s Hospital, Music Is A Form of Treatment For Young Patients” by Joaquin Gonzalez (Jan. 30, 2018) from Pittsburg NPR News Station. Music therapist Nicole Steele teaches patients who are children to play simple duets with her on ukulele, guitar, and piano to connect with them and help them feel better.

Sometimes, she may just play while the patient listens. Other times, like with Young, she might actually teach them to use a certain instrument and play along.” Music therapist, Kory Antonacci “recalled another patient she had worked with in the past, who was a singer. She had to regain her breath support … so [we worked on] that, retraining her body to be able to provide the lung capacity to be able to sing again.”.


“Mindful Music Moments Makes Central Ohio Debut at Pickerington Elementary” (Feb. 6, 2018) by BWW News Desk. “On January 16, Pickerington Elementary became the first central Ohio school to implement Mindful Music Moments, a daily mindfulness and classical music program that promotes student focus.”

“This is a daily mindfulness and classical music program that creates a more calm, focused, and balanced start to the school day,” explains Stacy Sims, founder of Mindful Music Moments. “Many children never get the chance to disengage from the constant, stress-inducing stimuli surrounding them. Finding inner calmness helps students access healthy brain processes, and as a result, they are better prepared to focus on schoolwork, discipline issues are reduced, and overall health is improved.”


“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:


Barnes and Noble(Nook)



“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.


Barnes and Noble(Nook)


Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math”


Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World” . This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. ”Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below:

Download Your Copy Today!

Amazon | iTunes | CD Baby

Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is available through amazon. To order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget”  as an e-book on Kindle click on the following link:


Wishing you and your family a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day from your Non-Invasive Medicine…Music Expert, Madeline

For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker, conductor, and concert artist. She has found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2018 Madeline Frank.


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