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  • Writer's pictureDavid Connolly

Meet the Smoking Drinking Bear Who Became a WWII Hero

On April 8, 1942, Polish Lt. Anatol Tarnoweickl purchased a Syrian brown bear cub at railway station in Hamadan, Iran. He bought the bear with some Persian coins, a Swiss army knife, a can of beef, and a portion of chocolate.

For the following three months, the cub lived in a Polish refugee camp set up near Tehran. He was quite the troublemaker, as he ate any food in sight and allegedly stole an entire clothesline of women’s underwear.

The bear was given to the 22nd Artillery Supply Company and named Wojtek and eventually became known as the unofficial mascot of all military units stationed in the area.

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