Sidney Shachnow

Most Influential Person

Special Forces soldier, recipient of the Silver Star

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According to Wikipedia, Sidney Shachnow was a Jewish American Holocaust survivor who attained the rank of major general in United States Army. He retired in 1994, after almost 40 years of active service. Biography Surviving the Holocaust, a concentration camp, and anti-Semitism Sid Shachnow was born in Kaunas, Lithuania, on November 23, 1934. At the age of seven, Shachnow was imprisoned in the Kovno Ghetto during World War II because his family was Jewish. For three years, he endured brutalities and lost almost every single one of his extended family members. To increase his prospects of survival, young Shachnow performed heavy manual labor under harsh conditions. He narrowly escaped death only days before Kovno's gruesome "Children's Action", of March 27–28, 1944, when Nazi troops rounded up all children in the camp and marched them to The Ninth Fort for execution or to Auschwitz to be gassed. After escaping the ghetto, Shachnow lived in hiding for months, almost dying from starvation and malnutrition. Shachnow fled west after the Soviets invaded Kaunas from the Nazis and began to implement Communism. His 2,000-mile, six-month journey across Europe, mostly on foot, took him across Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, and finally to American-occupied Nuremberg, Germany, where he hoped to obtain a visa to the United States. To make a living in war-torn Nuremberg, Shachnow resorted to pirating black market contraband such as nylon stockings and chocolate. It was during this time that he learned to speak German.

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