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October 01, 1993 - Image 126

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-10-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Knowledge Denied
Of Father's Past

Washington (JTA) — Presi-
dent Clinton's nominee to
head the Joint Chiefs of Staff
told members of Congress
this week that he "never had
the slightest hint" that his
father served in a Nazi-
commanded unit during
World War II.
Gen. John Shalikashvili
said at his confirmation
hearings that he was "deep-
ly saddened that my father
had this tragic association."
After Mr. Clinton nomi-
nated the European-born ca-
reer military man last mon-
th to the high-ranking Pen-
tagon post, reports surfaced
that Gen. Shalikashvili's
father, a native of European
Georgia, had collaborated
with the Nazis during the
war and had served in an
ethnic Georgian battalion
organized by the Nazis.
The battalion ended up
under the command of the
Waffen SS, Adolf Hitler's
elite, armed guard.
The Simon Wiesenthal
Center in Los Angeles first
discovered the information
about Dmitri Shalikashvili,
the general's father, who is
now dead.
Jewish leaders contacted
last month after the news
broke said the revelations
about the elder Shalikashvili

should not bar the younger Sha-
likashvili from the Joint Chiefs

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In his opening remarks
before the Senate Armed
Services committee, Gen.
Shalikashvili referred to the
controversy over his father.
"Allow me to comment
briefly on the recent, deeply
disturbing reports that my
father had been a member of
the dreaded Waffen SS and
that I, perhaps, withheld
this information.
"I did not withhold this in-
formation, for I never had
the slightest hint that my
father was associated with
the Waffen SS," the general
Gen. Shalikashvili said
that while his father's offi-
cial German record shows
"uninterrupted service in
the Georgian Legion under
the German army, or
Wehrmacht," in the last
months of the war he ap-
parently was "associated
with some Georgian unit
that was under the control of
the Waffen SS.
"I'm deeply saddened that
my father had this tragic

association," the general
said. "To me, and I believe to
all those who knew him, that
is so absolutely out of
character. To me, he was a
kind and gentle man, and I
loved him very much.
"He was a man who,
perhaps, loved his native
Georgia too much — certain-
ly a man caught up in the
awful tragedy of World War
II," the general said.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean
of the Wiesenthal Center,
called Gen. Shalikashvili's
remarks "an eloquent

Joseph Lieberman:
Responded supportively.

statement, especially the
general's candid repulsion
with the fact that his father
was associated with the
Waffen SS."
"He should not be judged
by the misdeeds of his
father," Rabbi Hier added.
Members of the Armed
Services Committee, which
is expected to vote to confirm
Gen. Shalikashvili, re-
sponded supportively to his
"I very much appreciate
and admire the statement
that you made this morning
about the revelations con-
cerning your father's associ-
ation during the Second
World War," said Sen.
Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn.,
who is Jewish.
"The point here is not to
react to anything your
father may have done before
your family came to the
United States, but really to
react to what you have done
as a citizen of the United
States since your family
came here," Mr. Lieberman
"And on that scale, it is
quite clear that you have
been a great citizen, a great
soldier, and a great patriot,"
he added. Sen. John Warner,

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