Maj. Gen. Sid Shachnow spent three years of his childhood in a Nazi concentration camp. Now, at age 78, he is retired from the U.S. Army, having served for 40 years, most of them with the Special Forces.
Shachnow shares highlights of his memorable life in Hope and Honor on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
Born in Lithuania in 1934, Shachnow was imprisoned with his Jewish family in the brutal Kovno concentration camp, where he watched most of his relations die. Smuggled out of the camp in March 1944, just days before the Nazis began executing child prisoners, he hid for months, nearly starving.
After the liberation of Kovno by the Soviets, young Shachnow fled to the West, a grueling six-month, 2,000-mile journey across Europe, mostly on foot. He ended up in the American sector of occupied Germany where he survived by selling black market goods. In 1950 he finally obtained a visa to the U.S. and immigrated to Salem, Massachusetts, where he attended school for the first time.
Working his way through high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. As a Sergeant First Class he entered Officer Candidate School and received his commission in the U.S. Infantry. In 1962 he volunteered for the Special Forces, also known as the "Green Berets," where he served for 32 years and became head of all U.S. Special Operations.
Among Shachnow's many citations are two silver and three bronze stars with a V for Valor.
Shachnow is the author (with Jann Robbins) of the memoir Hope and Honor. He lives in Virginia.
Admission is free. The event will be preceded by a 6 p.m.reception. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available at the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.
Co-sponsored by the Command and General Staff College Foundation, Inc.