History of the Foundation to Build the Statue of Wojtek the Bear
In autumn 2011 Ewa Rakowska-Eggar, born in Sopot and residing in London, read an article in the local newspaper about an exhibition in the Sikorski Institute, dedicated to Wojtek the bear – a participant of the Battle of Monte Cassino.
Although she has been working as an international travel director for many years and has a genuine interest in WWII, she had never heard about this remarkable bear.
Having seen the fascinating exhibition put together by Krystyna Ivell, Ewa decided to do her best to also make his story famous among the contemporary generation of Poles in Poland. And so the idea of creating a statue of Wojtek the bear in Sopot was born.
Why in Sopot? Because it is in Sopot that we have the best known promenade named after the heroes of Monte Cassino. It is a mecca for tourists from other parts of the country and from abroad; it is here that holidaymakers will find the time to stop by, intrigued by a statue of the soldier bear, maybe touch him, take a picture, tell their children and guests his amazing history.
Ewa’s dream became a joint initiative of a group of people, who together founded Wojtek the Bear Friends Club.
What followed were various meetings with representatives with city authorities, business groups, war veterans and local scouts, as a result of which the initiative has gained support.
The ‘Foundation to Build the Statue of Wojtek the Bear in Sopot’ has been a logical result of the Club’s previous activity and provided it with a legal framework. We opened the club’s account in London’s HSBC bank and another one in PKO bank in Poland.
Donations for this noble cause started pouring in from Wojtek the Bear’s fans from all over the world. We will keep building his legend together, hoping to be able to unveil his statue on the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino, which is on May 18th 2014.
Project of statue
Sculpture Project Author: Wojtek Gryniewicz, creator of statues such as Tuwim’s Bench in Lodz and Father Twardowski’s Bench in Warsaw. He lives in Lodz but studied sculpture in the Academy of Arts in Gdansk.
A statue of Wojtek the Bear would commemorate all soldiers II WW standing above all political divisions. We believe it would serve arising interest in history amongs young generations of Poles.