Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

  ul. Bohaterów Monte Cassino     01 Mar 2024
A soldier bear? Monte Cassino? This eccentric mix of names, animals and titles may confuse most visitors who are unfamiliar with Polish history. First of all, Bohaterów Monte Cassino (The Heroes of Monte Cassino) or Monciak, commemorates the II Polish Corps who fought in the Italian campaign of WWII, specifically those who broke the German line at the Battle of Monte Cassino. Formed by Soviet-exiled Poles in Iran in 1942, the II Polish Corps famously adopted an orphaned bear cub whose mother had been shot by hunters. Named Wojtek, the Corps' mascot was actually capable of moving crates of ammunition during battle! He achieved the rank of corporal and had his own rations, including beer which he became unnaturally fond of. After the war, Wojtek lived out his years in Edinburgh Zoo until his death in 1963. This statue was unveiled in 2019.
Statue by Wojtek, the Soldier Bear, in Sopot. Photo by



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