Wojtek was a bear, rescued as a cub, from a cruel fate as a dancing bear in Iran by Polish soldiers who then kept him as a mascot, friend and helper.
This memorial statue, by Alan Beattie Herriot, recently placed in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens is a wonderful tribute to a brave and characterful bear (though I do find it astonishing that Edinburgh has far more statues to animals than it does to women).
As well as telling Wojtek's story, the book outlines Polish history during the war and immediately afterwards, the terrible suffering of Poland during the war at the hands of both the Germans and the Russians. The book concludes by telling the story of the author's campaign to get the statue to Wojtek erected in Edinburgh.
Wojtek the Bear, Polish War Hero by Aileen Orr, published by Birlinn Books