The villa was built as company accommodation in 1931. The former head of the Warsaw ZOO Jan Żabiński inhabited it along with his family. . It was the only building left intact during the events of World War II. Up to now only minor alterations have been introduced. It is surrounded with a French style garden, where a tree planted by doctor Żabiński himself still grows.
The decor of the interiors of the Villa sends us back to the 30' of the previous century. In the first room there are several glass cabinets worth closer examination. They contain a rich and interesting collection of insect specimens. They are the priceless collection belonging to Szymon Tenenbaum - a world famous entomologist of Jewish origin, who in 1940, got closed inside the Warsaw Ghetto along with his family. He entrusted his entire insect collection, counting around 500 000 invertebrate specimens for safe-keeping , to his dear friend, Jan Żabiński.
A piano stands in the living room. In the situation of approaching danger, for example German officers walking around the garden, Antonina Żabińska played different tunes on the instrument. Their choice passed on specific information to the illegal inhabitants of the building. Usually it was a sign for all the persons hiding in the house and cellars, that the situation in grave and it is time to "disappear".
In the cellars there is a room commemorating Magdalena Goss, who spent her tedious hours in hiding sculpting the animals living in the ZOO in clay. Also two movies are screened in the cellars, one shows the vibrant pre- war Jewish quarter, the other, the accounts of Mr and Mrs Żabiński of their actions during the German occupation.
It is possible to visit the villa after prior contact via e-mail or telephone.
The Żabińśki family villa
Warsaw City Zoo, ul. Ratuszowa 1/3