Last week, Comcast NBCUniversal was honored to host a special screening of Focus Features’ film The Zookeeper’s Wife in Washington, DC.  Presented at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, I was proud to join USHMM Director Sara J. Bloomfield; actress and executive producer Jessica Chastain; director Niki Caro; screenwriter Angela Workman; and author Diane Ackerman, for an emotional and reflective evening discussing the film and its historical background. 

The Zookeeper’s Wife and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum encourage us to remember the events of the Holocaust and the stories of its survivors and victims.  One of those was Dan Aaron, who emigrated from Nazi Germany in 1937, and was one of Comcast’s early leaders.  In his memoirs, Dan noted "the Holocaust was not a single event, but a series of six million individual tragedies…The story of my life is but one example of these catastrophic aftershocks.  It is also a tale of survival." 

This idea of survival is at the heart of The Zookeeper’s Wife.  Adapted from the nonfiction book of the same name, the film tells the incredible and inspiring true story of Antonina Żabińska, a real-life working wife and mother, who with her husband Dr. Jan Żabiński, sheltered over 300 people at their beloved Warsaw Zoo during World War II. 

Comcast NBCUniversal is proud to share powerful stories like The Zookeeper’s Wife with audiences through film.

The Zookeeper’s Wife is powerful in another way as well: written and directed by women, and about an unheralded female heroine, the film highlights female talent on and behind the screen.  Both in its narrative, as well as in its production, the film showcases Comcast NBCUniversal’s commitment to diversity and inclusion across our family of companies.

Watching Antonina’s story reminds us of the impact an individual can have in shaping the legacy of others.  I was humbled to be welcomed by USHMM Survivor Volunteer Sam Ponczak, and to honor the memory of my own grandmother and other Holocaust survivors who showed love, dignity, and bravery in the face of destruction and persecution.  It is important to remember and recognize their incredible stories and memories today.  As Jessica Chastain remarked during the panel, we hope that people who watch The Zookeeper’s Wife are "inspired to be compassionate."

Featured Speakers Screenwriter Angela Workman, Director Niki Caro, Comcast Corporation Senior Vice President & Senior Deputy General Counsel, and Comcast Cable Executive Vice President & General Counsel Lynn Charytan, Actress and Executive Producer Jessica Chastain, Author Diane Ackerman and USHMM Director Sara J. Bloomfield at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Photo Credit: Kris Connor for Focus Features

USHMM Director Sara J. Bloomfield moderates a panel reflecting on Antonina and Dr. Jan Żabiński with Director Niki Caro, Actress and Executive Producer Jessica Chastain, Screenwriter Angela Workman and Author Diane Ackerman. Photo Credit: Kris Connor for Focus Features

The Zookeeper’s Wife opens in theaters on March 31, 2017.  Please join the conversation online on Twitter at #TheZookeepersWife.