Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow, a survivor of the Holocaust, veteran of the Vietnam War, and one of the top Army officers in Berlin during the Cold War, died Friday at the age of 83, the Fayetteville Observer reported.
Shachnow lived in Southern Pines, North Carolina, with his wife, Arlene, according to the Observer. He is survived by his wife, four daughters and more than a dozen grandchildren.
The memorial service for Shachnow will be held Oct. 13 at Boles Funeral Home in Southern Pines.
Shachnow retired from the Army in 1994, after 40 years of active-duty service.
Born in Kaunas, Lithuania, he witnessed the horrors of World War II from the confines of a forced labor camp.
Shachnow was only 7 years old when he was imprisoned. Though laborers often starved or were beaten to death, he somehow survived until the end of World War II, according to a 1992 New York Times profile of Holocaust survivors.
His father escaped German detention and fought out the rest of the war against the Nazis with a partisan resistance group. His mother, though, was sent to a concentration camp.
The three would eventually reunite and move to the United States, where Shachnow eventually enlisted in the U.S. Army, according to his biography with the Jewish Institute for National Security of America.
He later entered Officer Candidate School at the rank of sergeant first class and was commissioned as an infantry officer.
Shachnow would eventually serve more than 32 years in the Special Forces community, including two deployments to Vietnam, the Observer reported.
Throughout his career, Shachnow served as a commander or staff officer with infantry, mechanized infantry, airborne and Special Forces units.
Among his top assignments were stints commanding the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, U.S. Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg, and U.S. Army-Berlin in Germany.
Shachnow was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters and "V" device, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters, the Air Medal with the numeral “12”, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters and "V" device, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Ranger Tab, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq. Follow on Twitter @Kyle_Rempfer