Wojtek: The Soldier Bear

Bear facts from Misha Herwin

Misha Herwin

200px-Wojtek_the_bearWorking on Mum’s memoir has brought up many memories, for me as well as for her. The more I put the work into shape, the more questions it brings up which leads to long conversations over the phone. Sometimes, it’s a date, or a fact I need to check; other times what we’ve been talking about reminds me of a story I vaguely remember being told in my childhood.

Wojtek, the soldier bear, is one of those stories that Dad told me when I was little. I’d forgotten all about it until the husband of a friend, who has a Polish grandfather, mentioned it. Neither of us could remember the details, so some research was necessary.

During WW2 my dad fought with the Second Polish Corps. Like Mum, he was in Iraq, then took part in the Italian campaign, but it was in Iraq that he must have first encountered…

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