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Story about bear named Wojtek to be featured in an animated movie Posted by on Mar 25, 2019 in Animals, Countries, History

The first time I’ve heard about bear Wojtek was from my grandfather who fought in both World War I and World War II. My grandfather had asthma and with his health problems for the last few years of his life he lived with us.

Every day after school he was waiting for me with a special treat: homemade french fries, ice cream…and was ready to tell me a new story about the war. You would think that a child would not like war stories, but I loved them and to this day it’s one of my favorite childhood memories!

Image courtesy pixabay.com

One day I heard the story about amazing bear named Wojtek, who was raised by my grandfather and his fellow soldier friends! How amazing is that!?? Check out this short YouTube story about him!

 

Purchased as a young cub from a railway station in Iran by a group of Polish soldiers, Wojtek was enlisted into the army as a private (szeregowy) in order to be given rations and transportation. He was subsequently promoted to corporal (kapral), and helped to move crates of ammunition during the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944 – swiftly becoming a celebrity among the Allied troops.

Speaking of rank of troops, here is a list of them in English and Polish!

 

Private (Pte, Pvt) – szeregowy
Private First Class (PFC) – starszy szeregowy
Corporal (CPL) – kapral
Lance Corporal (LCPL) – starszy kapral
Master Corporal (MCpl) – plutonowy
Sergeant (Sgt) – sierżant
Staff Sergeant (SSgt) – sierżant sztabowy
Master Sergeant (MSgt) – starszy sierżant
Warrant Officer (WO) – chorąży
Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) – starszy chorąży
Senior Staff Warrant Officer (SWO) – starszy chorąży sztabowy
Second Lieutenant (2nd Lt) – podporucznik
Lieutenant (Lt) – porucznik
Captain (Capt) – kapitan
Major (Maj) – major
Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) – podpułkownik
Colonel (Col) – pułkownik
Brigadier General (Brig Gen) – generał brygady
Major General (Maj Gen) – generał dywizji
Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) – generał broni
General (Gen) – generał

After the war, Wojtek lived out the rest of his life at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, and was commemorated by a statue in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens that was erected in 2015. In 2013, the Kraków city council decided to erect a statue of Wojtek in the city’s Jordan Park. It was unveiled on 18 May 2014, the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino.

The unbelievable true story of the orphaned cub, which was found by Polish troops in Persia and then traveled through Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Italy and Scotland as a morale-booster, is now being turned into an animated movie! When you actually find a story that is almost like a fairytale but is real, and documented and true, it just opens up so many more emotions.

The British-Polish filmmakers hope to release the family-friendly “A Bear Named Wojtek” in 2020. Can’t wait to see it!

 

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About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


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