Voytek, the Soldier Bear

150_voytekAn Iranian bear was adopted by Polish troops in World War II. Named Voytek, the bear was enlisted as a soldier in order to be transferred to Italy with his unit.
"He was just like a dog - nobody was scared of him," said Polish veteran Augustyn Karolewski, who still lives near the site of the camp.

"He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of beer - he drank a bottle of beer like any man."

Voytek even helped load ammunition and supplies at the Battle of Monte Cassino. After the war, Voytek spent the rest of his days in Scotland at the Edinburgh Zoo. Now a campaign has been launched to build a permanent memorial for the “the Soldier Bear” in Scotland. Link -via Fark

Bonus: Link to Voytek’s story. Link to more pictures of Voytek

(image credit: Imperial War Museum)

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Voytek (spelled the Polish way) is the same first name as the man who became Pope John Paul II. This is doubtless a coincidence.

Voytek's story simply redefines the word "awesome." It made my day.
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I am always looking for a great story about bears. I am probably one of the biggest bear lovers in the world and when i heard about this bear I had to learn more. Thank you for sharing this story.
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