The VFW's Key Role
in this Dramatic Story!
The VFW played a historic role in the dramatic story of the WWI Polar Bears, Michigan soldiers sent to fight the first Communists in 1918/1919.
After 10 years of refusal, the Soviet Union finally agreed to allow recovery of the remains of the fallen Polar Bears! In 1929 VFW Captain Edwin Bettelheim (2nd from right) and five other VFW members traveled back to Northern Russia.
Unknown to the Soviets, five of these VFW members had been Polar Bears.
This group traveled 13,000 miles, wading through swamps, scrambling up cliffs, searching through the dense forests of Northern Russia to find and recover the remains of their fallen brothers.
Out of 121 bodies sought, they recovered 86, which they turned over to Michigan Governor Fred Green on December 1, 1929.
On May 30, 1929, after the frozen Michigan ground had thawed, the bodies of 41 of these brave men were interred at White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery at the foot of the newly erected Polar Bear Monument in Troy, MI. A crowd of over 4,000 people attended the ceremony that day to welcome our boys home at the foot of the newly created Polar Bear Monument.
Click here to contribute to this film in honor of your post or a veteran to help prepare the film for PBS broadcast. Help to preserve the history of the VFW's role in this epic story of The Polar Bears.