The Incredible Story Of Wojtek The Soviet Soldier Bear

During World War II, a little orphaned bear became a fully enlisted soldier in the Polish army. He followed his fellow soldiers in combat and kicked back with a few beers with them. To this day, Wojtek is widely honored.


Wojtek was first found and adopted in Iran in 1942 by the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps.

As a cub, he was fed condensed milk. Later, the soldiers fed him fruit, marmalade, honey and syrup.

Eventually, he started drinking beer and enjoyed smoking and eating cigarettes. He chilled out with the other soldiers and quickly became their unofficial mascot.

He even enjoyed a good wrestling match now and again.

When the convoy was on the move, Wojtek would ride shotgun in one of the jeeps.

Because of the army’s strict “no animals or pets” rule, Wojtek was officially enlisted into the Polish army’s ranks. He was given the rank of Private, and was included in all official unit rosters.

He was loved by all soldiers.

When the war ended, Private Wojtek retired and lived out the rest of his days in the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland. There, he was regularly visited by his old army pals.

He passed away in 1963, at the age of 22, as a symbol of solidarity between Poland and Scotland. He was also immortalized with a bronze statue.