Covered up by pro-human biased historians is the tale of Wojtek, the bear who fought alongside humans and helped win World War II with his superior stategery skills. The tale of Wojtek as described by the BBC:
Acquired as an orphaned cub in Iran, the young Wojtek was soon well-travelled: with the Artillery Supply Command of the Polish Second Corps he saw fighting in the deserts of north Africa, where the Second Corps joined the British fight against Rommel’s forces, and in Italy. . . .
Wojtek’s daily rations included two bottles of beer, and he also enjoyed cigarettes – either smoking them or swallowing them whilst lit. By the time the Allies pushed into Italy he was officially a private. After the battle of Monte Cassino, his regiment adopted the likeness of a bear carrying a shell as its official insignia.
“Brown bears are not usually especially friendly to humans, but the fact he was raised by humans and grew used to human contact made him who he was and meant that he could live with the soldiers,” says Raymond Russell, senior carnivore keeper at Edinburgh Zoo. “When he came to the zoo there are lots of stories that his old friends would come and visit and occasionally they would jump the fence and give him a cuddle or a bottle of beer. If he heard the Polish language spoken he would often perk up.”
In recent years there has been renewed interest in Wojtek’s story, coinciding with the arrival in Scotland of thousands of Poles following their country’s ascension to the EU in 2004. An illustrated book for children, written by Garry Paulin and published in 2008, was followed in 2010 by Aileen Orr’s major study of Wojtek’s life, Wojtek the Bear: Polish War Hero, and the Edinburgh playwright Catherine Grosvenor is now working on a play about him.
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