Courtesy of the U.S. Army
Maj. Gen. Sid Shachnow

Jewish Generals and Admirals in America's Military

Maj. Gen. Sid Shachnow:
Hero of Vietnam and
Holocaust Survivor

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Major General Sid Shachnow was a hero in Vietnam and was the Berlin Brigade Commander of a clandestine operation during the Cold War.

Shachnow was born in Lithuania and when he was eight years old, the partisans joined Hitler’s cause and killed and raped many Jewish men and women, his peaceful world was shattered. His family was sent to the notorious Kovno concentration camp with about 40,000 other Jews. Three years later, the Russian Army freed them and there were only about 2,000 Jews still alive.

He and his family were sponsored by his uncle to come to America. He was 17 years old and didn’t speak the English language. Encouraged by his uncle, he learned to read and write English.

Shachnow joined the Army. The Army paid for his college education and he received a BA, Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. He volunteered for the United States Special Forces. He enlisted as a private and worked his way through officer’s candidate school.

He was sent to Vietnam with his Special Forces Unit along the Mekong River. He escaped death on a number of occasions. For his bravery, he received two Purple Heart Medals and a Silver Star Medal. Shachnow went through the officers' ranks to became a Major General.

General Shachnow served two tours in Vietnam. He was always trying to find a bigger role for his Special Forces Unit.

He met Jann Robins, widow of Harold Robbins. She felt that they should write a book about his life. They wrote “Hope and Honor.”

In 2004, General Norman Schwarzkopf was quoted as saying, “Hope and Honor is a gripping story of A warrior’s survival and ultimate victory against all odds.”

Major General Sid Shachnow is married and they have four daughters. He is retired and lives in North Carolina.

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