Archive for October 16th, 2010

October 16, 2010

Wojtek – The Anders Army (WWII) Fighting Bear Gets A Monument !

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Wojtek fought in World War II for the Polish Army famously in Italy at Monte Cassino. He carried ammunition (heavy artillery shells) for the troops.  Wojtek was a Syrian brown bear cub adopted by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. In 1942, a local boy found a bear cub near Hamadan, Iran. He sold it to the soldiers of the Polish Army stationed nearby for a couple of canned meat tins. As the bear was less than a year old, he initially had problems swallowing and was fed with condensed milk from an emptied vodka bottle. The bear became quite an attraction for soldiers and civilians alike, and soon became an unofficial mascot of all units stationed nearby. Because of this, he was officially drafted into the Polish Army and was listed among the soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. [Source:  Wikipedia article]

Happily, this heroic bear survived the war and settled down to live in Edinburgh, Scotland (in the zoo). The bear used to be visited by Polish veterans and they would greet him with some Polish and the bear would sit up and beg for cigarettes!!! Apparently, Wojek, like many army troops like cigarettes and beer. Wojetk finally passed in 1963 (about age 21).

Well I am happy to say that Wojtek is getting a monument in Scotland.  See the article here . He has a Facebook page too. An even better story about Wojtek is here. Back in January 2008, they started to work on honoring this amazing bear and to educate people about Wojtek, according to a BBC article.

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