Snyder, Herman
Interview Date
Respondent. contractor, born 1921.
[T1S1] Respondent World War II survivor, talks about his birth near Vilna; German occupation of town in 1941, family killed by Germans, Respondent ran away to Russia. Respondent recalls his schooling; studying in Yeshiva, learning carpentry work. Respondent continues to detail German occupation; settling in Poland in 1946 with his wife, daughter; fleeing to Prague after 40 Jews were killed; help from United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRA); coming to Mt Pleasant to live with uncle. Respondent describes settling in Pittsburgh; working for uncles, making it on own. Respondent elaborates on childhood, religious education, schooling, siblings. Respondent recalls life in Buzuluck, Russia; finding work; importance of surviving; marriage to gentile; their early married life; reaction about genocide by Germans, Red Army beating Germans; staying out of Russian Army; how he ended up in Russia. Respondent talks about parents, siblings; returning to Vilna in 1986; visiting family's grave. Respondent describes hate Europeans have toward Jews; wonders how Holocaust will not happen again if attitude does not change.
[T1S2] Respondent discusses how politics affect Jews; fear of religious right, another economic depression; his divorce from Jewish religion after war. Respondent mentions his intermarriage; wife's father's reaction; how she kept Jewish tradition alive for their family; working as subcontractor in Pittsburgh. Respondent discusses how Russia influenced his political views; doesn't like capitalism; Americans misconception about Russians killing Jews. Respondent elaborates on work as contractor; life in Pittsburgh. Respondent talks about his children, their education, careers, families. Respondent offers philosophy on work. Respondent mentions most literature he reads comes from Russia. Respondent discusses his beliefs on communism.
[T2S3] Respondent elaborates on life in town near Vilna; family religious observances in Vilna. Respondent details his journey to and life in Russia; working as carpenter. Respondent elaborates on his political views; believes capitalism, religion, Jews' worst enemy. Respondent elaborates on his resettlement in Poland in 1946; why he left; their journey through Europe; getting family to and settling in Pittsburgh. Respondent discusses reconciling his independence with belief in communist philosophy. Respondent repeats experience getting to uncle in Mt. Pleasant.
[T2S4] Respondent continues explaining philosophy using some historical examples; mentions how Russia saved the world from Hitler. Respondent discusses what would be best of all possible worlds. Respondent mentions his membership in Tree of Life; why he left. Respondent continues discussing his philosophies about life, work, responsibility of men; responsibility toward his children.
Carpentry; Communism; Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945); Mount Pleasant (Westmoreland County, Pa. : Township); Poland; Russia; Vilna (Poland); Vilnius (Lithuania); World War, 1939-1945
Birth Date
Pittsburgh, PA
Administrator; Educator; Negotiator
Length (hours)
Sachs, Sylvia
Wolfenstein, Wilma
Collateral Materials
Box 106 FF 32
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