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Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial
Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial

© the copyright holders. Image credit: Gordon Baird / Art UK

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Wojtek, a 500–pound brown bear born in the Zagros Mountains of Iran, achieved international celebrity as a mascot of the Polish army in World War II. The name Wojtek means ‘happy warrior’. The bear is depicted walking in the company of his keeper, a Polish NCO named Peter Prendys (d.1968), who leans towards him with his left hand resting on the animal’s shoulder and his right hand pressing his cap against his hip. The group is placed on a broad granite platform that lies flush with the upper walkway, but descends by a flight of four curved steps (which also double as seats) to the sloping gardens below. Behind them is a curved granite screen supporting a bronze relief panel illustrating key events from Wojtek’s life and military exploits.
Title

Wojtek the Soldier Bear Memorial

Date

2010–2015

Medium

bronze & granite

Accession number

EH2_GB_S001

Acquisition method

Wojtek Memorial Trust

Work type

Statue

Custodian

City of Edinburgh Council

Work status

extant

Unveiling date

7th November 2015

Access

at all times

Signature/marks description

bottom of relief panel: MORRIS & STEEDMAN ASSOC. ARCH. SCULPTED BY / ALAN BEATTIE HERRIOT DA. MRBS

Inscription description

1942 / ORPHANED CUB WOJTEK IS FOUND IN PERSIA | 1943 / PALESTINE | 1944 13TH FEBRUARY, ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT / PVT. WOJTEK BOARDS M.S. BATORY, BOUND FOR ITALY | 1944 MONTE CASSINO, 1945 BOLOGNA, / PVT. WOJTEK ACHIEVES LEGENDARY STATUS | 1946 WINFIELD DISPLACED PERSONS CAMP / AT SUNWICK FARM, HUTTON, BERWICKSHIRE, SCOTTISH BORDERS | 1947 WOJTEK REMAINED AT EDINBURGH ZOO UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1963, AGED 22 / “HIS LEGEND LIVES ON”; in incised letters on granite support, right of relief panel: WOJTEK / IN MEMORY OF THE / POLISH MEN AND WOMEN / WHO FOUGHT / “FOR YOUR FREEDOM / AND OURS” / PAMIĘCI POLSKICH / MĘZCZYZN I KOBIET / KTÓRZY WALCZYLI / “ZA WASZĄ / WOLNOŚĆ I NASZĄ”; (a bronze inscription tablet on the rear of the relief records the names of the main sponsors and a statement of gratitude by Polish Connections Scotland.)

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Located at

Princes Street Gardens / Charlotte St, Edinburgh

EH2 2HG

Beside the walkway / path in Princes Street Gardens.