Birthdate: January 1, 1921
Birthplace: Vilna, Poland
Religious Identity: Atheist
“If there was a God, this would not have happened.”
Herman Snyder was living in Vilna, Poland when the Nazis invaded on June 22, 1941. He and his family were forced into the Vilna ghetto. Herman decided to flee the ghetto before the situation got any worse leaving behind his mother, father, and brother, and sister which was one of the most difficult decisions he ever made. Herman would never see his family again; they were killed in a mass shooting conducted by the Nazis after he fled the ghetto. Herman spent a long time traveling with a group, of four, eight, and at times twelve people through the forests always heading towards Russia. He was allowed into the country and began working and perfecting the trade of carpentry specifically cabinet making, which he had started learning at a young age. After the war, he then left Russia for Germany and he stayed there for four years before immigrating to the United States. While in Russia, he met his late wife, Anna. They have three children, and three grandchildren. Herman still lives in the house that he built for them 57 years ago. He feels a deep sense of gratefulness for what the Russian people did for him during the war, and says that he would not be here if not for them.
“To make another day…What else is there? There’s so much to live for at any age! If you learn, and work and work and you find out the longer you live, that it’s worth living because nothing is so hard to accomplish if you make your mind to it!”
Click here to read his full testimony.