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Wojtek the Bear talk by Aileen Orr

By September 16th, 2019 No Comments

This talk will take place on Tuesday 17th of September at 7pm.

£3 per person which is payable at the door.

 

The story of Wojtek is about a bear cub picked up by a group of Poles who had been released from Siberian gulags in 1942. He was then transported by them down to Iraq where the men joined the Polish army to fight with the Allies. He became their mascot and travelled with them to Italy where he was spotted carrying boxes of ammunition with the men at Monte Cassino. A war artist made a military emblem of the bear carrying a shell for them which became famous.

When the war was over, the same Poles were sent from Naples to Glasgow with the bear. They then ended their journey at Winfield camp in Berwickshire for two years until 1947 when the Displaced Persons camps were closed.

The bear was sent to Edinburgh Zoo until Poland became free, but he died in 1963 at the age of 21.

His story was witnessed and recorded by James Little KOSB from Moniaive. His granddaughter Aileen Orr wrote the story and her family helped erect the Wojtek memorial in Princess Street Gardens. Aileen is the author of Wojtek the Bear: Polish War Hero (published by birlinn, 2012).

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