Aim of Foundation

Main purpose of the Foundation is raising funds to build a statue of Wojtek the Bear in Sopot and assist in its maintenance in the years to come. In the long run the Foundation wishes to carry on spreading the knowledge of Polish soldiers participation in the II WW on the side of Western Allies in Europe and Africa.

Display statute of Foundation

Click here to view statute

We are very sorry, but only Polish version is available.

Foundation Members

Ewa Rakowska-Eggar

Founder of the project of building the statue of Wojtek the Bear in Sopot. She is the President of Wojtek the Bear Friends Club. Born in Sopot, since 1978 residing mostly abroad - first in Florence where she studied Arts Criticism and since 1980 - in London. Graduated in Applied Linguistics at Warsaw University for the last 30 years has been working as international travel director in Europe. Shares her life between two homes: one in London and one in Sopot. In free time interested in interior design and Argentinian tango. Married, mother to 19-year old Alexandra.

Andrzej Fórmaniak

He is the treasurer of the Friends of Wojtek the Bear Club, and also a member of the Audit Committee in the Trust. His life is divided between Sopot and London, where he arrived in 1989. With PhD in mechanical engineering he graduated from the Technical University of Poznań. Has over 40-year experience in railway industry of Poland and UK. Currently works as Principal Consultant in Mott MacDonald - Croydon, engineering consultancy. His area of expertise is mainly in safety and reliability of railway transport. He acts in many scientific societies in UK. He is married, has two daughters and 2 grandsons. His passions: skiing, roller blading, bridge & wife when she is around.

Jan Mystkowski

Member of the Foundation’s Council. Lives in Warsaw, a cameraman working in film industry and Polish Television. Between 1981 and 1991 also worked in NBC-News. Author of pictures and documentaires from war zones in Bosnia, Middle East, Afganistan, Iraq, Chechnia, Kosowo to name just the major ones. Very strongly associated with Sopot by many friends and family. His son Krzysztof is a well known photo reporter in the Tri-City. Jan has two grand children.

Bogusław Borys

Member of the Foundation’s Executive Committee. In his professional life he is a clinical psychologist and therapist, doctor of Science, professor emeritus and long term leader of Clinical Psychology Department of the Gdansk Medical University. Author of 80 scientific articles, 5 books promoting medical science, the principal supervisor of many PhDs. Married, father of four grown up children. Resident of Gdansk-Osowa, for many years loves taking walks with his wife in Sopot. He came across Wojtek the Bear many years ago when working in the UK. He met there a chaplain, veteran of the Monte Cassino Battle, who told him a story of Wojtek.

Monika Agnew

Member of the Foundation’s Council. Lives in Sopot. Graduated from faculty of International Trade of the Gdansk University. She worked in many different fields, the longest in tourism. As she is no longer active professionally, she may therefore dedicate her free time to act as a member of the Fundation’s Council. After many years in London she is back in Sopot now, although often chooses to spend winters in Spain. Interior design is her passion followed by undivided love for cats.

Ewa Bell

Ewa is truly a Tri-City girl. Born in Sopot, she lived first in Wrzeszcz, then in Gdansk and lately in Gdynia, with a long break abroad. Graduated from English Studies at the Poznan University. Returning to Sopot she took up a position at the Gdansk University. Later on she left as a translator for Libya where she met her English husband and carried on working in Saudi Arabia and other countries of the Middle East. After returning to Poland she developed her own business in the new Polish economic reality. Now retired, she lives in ever more beautiful Gdynia yet enjoys visiting Sopot’s charming spots. She presides over the Foundation’s Executive Committee.

Joanna Rakowska

Graduated from Gdańsk University in economic cybernetics and information technology. Lives in Sopot but last 9 years spent in Shanghai, China and before that she lived 5 years in Genoa, Italy accompanying her husband working there in shipping industry. Loves her three grandchildren to bits, has interest in oriental cooking. Despite spending so much time abroad and travelling to various interesting places across the world she considers Sopot as the best place to live in, and that is why she is now back for good. Member of the Foundation's Audit Committee.

Anna Suchocka

University graduate with Master’s degree in English philology, married, with one daughter and two grandsons. After finishing studies she worked for “Linguist” in Warsaw. From June 1981 she has been living in London, where at the beginning she worked or BBC World Service, then in the financial firm and currently she works as a translator and voluntarily participates in a few Polish organizations. Her engagement with Mis Wojtek Foundation was inspired by her grandson Marlon who in his history homework about 2nd World War hero chose Mis Wojtek introducing him to his English school friends. Ania heard about Mis Wojtek from her grandfather Adam Rzeszotarski, who fought at the battle of Monte Cassino with the 2nd Corps of Polish Army. She is a member of the Foundation's Council involved in fund raising in London.

Zofia Dekowska

Born in Chelmn, city of "lovers". For the last few years however Sopot is her living centre. She is active in local societies and projects for inhabitants of Sopot. Mother of three children: Sonata, Roland and Jagoda. For the last 18 years also grand-mother. Professionally she is a lecturer and instructor of vocational skills. Specialising in cosmetology and podology. Loves animals to bits, but most of all she loves her boxer BUFO. Daughter of a soldier who faught in the Monte Cassio battle alongside the II Corp of gen. Anders. She heard about Wojtek the Bear from her father. Member of the Foundation's Audit Committee

As well as:

Kasia Berent and Filip Michalski - fans of Wojtek the Bear and authors of this website

Story

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 youn generations of Poles.