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WWII hero Wojtek the Bear statue unveiled

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 19.05.2014 10:20
A statue to Wojtek, Poland's 'soldier bear', has been erected in Krakow to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino.

Wojtek the Bear statue unveiled in Krakow. Photo: PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk

The statue of the unlikely war hero Wojtek the Bear has been erected in Krakow's Jordan Park, alongside a number of busts of national heroes including Wojtek's commander General Wladyslaw Anders.

Wojtek the Bear joined the army as a cub in Iran, and quickly became a favourite with soldiers.

He was the official mascot of the 22nd Artillery Company, and like his comrades in arms, he was partial to a bottle of beer and the occasional cigarette, which he ate.

After he was demobilised, the bear retired in Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland where he died in 1963.

The unveiling of the statue coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino in southern Italy which saw 55,000 allied soldiers, including Poles, killed or injured, along with 20,000 German casualties. (pg)

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