‘The Zookeepers’ War’- How Two Zoos Became the Stand in for Cold War Europe


The Cold War was a difficult time for Europe, and a huge portion of that difficulty occurred around the Berlin Wall between both halves of the city. Divided and exhausted, two zoos became stand ins for the city’s two halves, so no one was really surprised when two zookeepers started to stockpile animals in a pseudo animal arms race.  People soon became concerned that if their side of the wall’s zoo became labeled as inferior, they would fail.

Going into this book, I had never heard of this animal cold war or the zookeepers caught in the middle of it. Reading The Zookeeper’s War by J.W. Monhaupt, readers get a chance to see the internal and external politics of Germany during the Cold War era, complete with the zoo becoming a microcosm of the fight between Communist and Capitalist states. It seems like such a strange fight for a country so recently torn by war at the time, but when one looks at the external forces and in-fighting it becomes very clear what really mattered: who got to keep their pride.

The Zookeeper’s War is now available from Simon and Schuster.  


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