Story of Poland’s ‘soldier bear’ Wojtek turned into film
When Wojciech Narebski was called to see his new commanding officer in what was the British mandate of Palestine in October 1942 he was in for a big surprise.
“I was very astonished because in front of his tent was lying a bear,” Mr Narebski says, thinking back nearly seven decades.
Thus began a near three-year friendship between Wojtek the bear and the then 17-year-old Polish soldier.
The bond between the two was strengthened by the fact that they shared the same first name, as the diminutive form of Wojciech in Polish is Wojtek.
A few months before meeting his namesake, Wojtek the bear was sold as a small cub to some Polish soldiers and civilians in Iran.
I felt like he was my older brotherâ€Â Wojciech NarebskiFormer Polish soldier
They were making their way from Siberia to the Middle East after being released from camps in Russia. The Nazi German invasion in 1941 prompted the Soviet Union to let the Poles go.
Read more:Â http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15736812