Rabbi Herman Schneider
from a phone call to Florida
Rabbi Herman is 98 years old.
Father; Yisrael Shlomo Schneider of Koidanov. Was a Koidnov Chosid and
a scribe ( sofer) of Torah scrolls by profession. Yisrael Sholmos'
father was Abraham Ilia and he passed away at age 40. The mother left
Kaidnov and Poland c 1920s' to lived in
Kovno ( Lithuania) with her other children ( five of them, one named
Mother; Ester Kagnovitz of Radishkovichi. She had 5 huge brothers
(more then six feet tall). They lived with their family in Horodok
and, Krasne One brother from Horodok survived by
hiding for many months in a tiny toilet area. He later made Aliyah to
The family of Herman lived in Rakov ( which became part of Poland
after 1920) . Yisrael Shlomo Schneider, a very religious man, who was
originaly a member of Koidanov Hasidic dynasties, was
also a Zionist. Herman remembers the first man who left Rakov for
Eretz Yisrael. It was Eisik Katz, and the entire town went to the
train station to say goodby! One day Yisrael Shlomo Schneider came
home and said " I sold the house and we are going to Eretz Israel" the
mother cried for the little money that he received for the house and
for the idea of leaving Rakov. Sadly, the father gave in- Most off the
familyperished in Rakov.,. They had six children
The oldest son of the Schnieders was Avraham Elia who was named for
his grandfather. He was born in 1903. Herman said that during the
first world war they were hiding in the basement, Avraham Elya caused
fire that almost burned the houseâ€¦ He later attended the Slobodka
Yeshiva and became a rabbi of a small Jewish Lithuanian community
Dubinik; The day they perished; 9/6/41: 13 Elul
Avraham Ilya was married and had 3 children. Dubingiai Dubingiai
(Polish: Dubinki) is a town in MolÄ—tai district in Lithuania. It is
situated near Lake Asveja, the longest lake in the country. It was the
site of infamous Dubingiai massacres during the Second World War. The
town has 260 inhabitants as of 2003.
Sister Mirl was born in Rakov in 1907 and sister Elka was born in
Rakov in 1908. They bith perished in Rakov in 1941.
Sister; Lesha was born in 1909. She was very smart and was sent to
study in a teachers'
Seminary in Krakov. She later married Elja Epstein who was born in
Nieswiez in 1908 to Arie and Dishka. They lived in Nieswiez in in 1940
( when the area was under Soviet rule) they had a daughter; Chavale.
The entire family perished. See Yad Vashem report by Shmaryahu
Epstein, the brother of Elya
Herman was born in 1910. Since his birth was complicated the mother
was taken from Rakov to the big city of Minsk ( 17 kilometers away)
for safe delivery. They returned to Rakov in time for the Brith Milah.
The sandak was Rabbi Avraham Kalmanovitch who was appointed to a
Rabbi in Rakov that year (1910). He married the daughter of the
previous Rabbi of Rakov, who passed away earlier that year.
The youngest brother; Noach, was in a youth movement. He perished in
Mother of father; Leah nee Kagan (known as leah Tinter for her job)
passed away in Kovno c 1940-six members of the family lived in
Kovno (her other children? ). Herman was there for a visit when she
died in his arms in a Kovno hospital. He also visited his brother;
Avraham Eila ( named for the grandfather who died at age 40 in
Kaidanov,(grandfather was a Kadanov Chosid)
from a very young age Herman was sent to study in Yeshivas; first he
was at mir and later at Radin ( he was there for more then 20 years)
"Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim of RaduÅ„." ( some information from the net) In
addition to spreading Torah
through his yeshiva, the Chofetz Chaim was very active in Jewish
causes RaduÅ„ Yeshiva, also known as Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim, originally
located in RaduÅ„, Poland, was established by the Chofetz Chaim in
Rabbi Mendel Zaks, rosh yeshiva of Radin and the Chofetz Chaim's
son-in-law,gave him smicha. the Chafetz Chaim passed away in 1933 at
the ripe age of 95.
As the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, Zaks fled to Vilna and then to
Japan, from where he appealed to Dr. Revel for help in reaching to the
United States. Revel successfully arranged for Zaks's immigration, and
after reestablishing the Radin yeshiva in America, Zaks joined the
RIETS faculty in 1945. Return to RaduÅ„ after the first world war;
After encountering difficulties in obtaining permission to travel and
cross the border into newly independent Poland, the yeshiva was
delayed in Minsk for around two months. When permission was finally
granted the yeshiva arrived in Baranowitz and where they stayed for a
few days. In the spring of 1921 the yeshiva arrived back to its RaduÅ„.
Rabbi Moshe Landynski was at the train station to greet the returnees.
It was a joyous occasion, however their joy was short lived. When they
arrived back at the yeshiva they found the inside of the building
destroyed and abandoned. The Germans had confiscated the building for
use as a horse stable and ammunition store, forcing the students to
occupy the local Beth midrash. The windows were smashed and the
furniture gone. The only option was to utilise the building as it
stood and begin efforts to refurbish it. With time, the return of the
yeshiva to it home endowed it with a new lease of life under the
leadership of both Rabbi Naftoli Trop and Rabbi Moshe Landynski. Rabbi
Levinson's son Yehoshua became supervisor and his son-in-law Eliezer
Kaplan the Mashgiach ruchani.
With the passing of Rabbi Trop in 1928, the prominence of the yeshiva
slowly diminished. Even with the appointment of two young Rosh
yeshivas, Rabbi Baruch Feivelson (Trop's son-in-law) and Rabbi Mendel
Zaks (son-in-law of the Chofetz Chaim), the yeshiva would never fully
regain its famed status.
Upon the death of Rabbi Baruch Feivelson in 1933, Rabbi Mendel Zaks
became the sole Rosh yeshiva. Rabbi Avraham Trop also gave lectures in
his fathers style which proved popular with the older students. The
institution also included a kollel, which focused on the study of
Kodashim. Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman and Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman
were among those who studied there.
Herman was a very devout student. There were about 400 students at the
Yeshiva and every day they'll eat at another home of one of the Jewish
families in the area. In 1938 the family decided that it was time for
Herman toget married. They found a nice girl named Rachel from
Molodechno. She came from a good family and was nice to look at.
Herman met her 4 times. She did not say much. Sadly the war started
and the marriage never happand. Herman never heard from her
again....he could not recall her last name...
Although the Chofetz Chaim rarely gave lectures in the yeshiva and
never held the position of Rosh yeshiva, he was it's driving force.
When he passed away in 1933, the continued funding of the academy
became an issue. Rabbi Moshe Landynski was forced to travel as far
away as London to solicit funds. Rabbi Landynski himself died a few
years later in 1938 aged 77.
World War II
With the outbreak of World War II the communists took RaduÅ„. The
majority of the yeshiva transferred to Vilna, Lithuania, while a few
remained behind in RaduÅ„, including the Chofetz Chaim's stepson-in-law
Rabbi Mordechai Dov Roitblatt, Rabbi Hillel Ginsburg, brother-in-law
of Eliezer Zev Kaplan, and Rabbi Avraham Trop. When conditions in the
Vilna became too crowded the yeshiva decided to split in two again
with one half locating to Isheshuk under Yehoshua Levinson and the
other to Otian. Rabbi Herman went to Otian When the Soviets took
Lithuania the yeshiva ceased functioning. Although much effort was
made in trying to enable the yeshiva to escape, only a few individuals
were able to obtain visas and emigrate. Rabbi Herman was arrested by
the Soviets for relegius activities and was about to be sent to
Siberia. He was able to escape. The rest of Herman story is very
unclear; Where was he during the war years? Was he in Russia during
the war? was he somehow able to be back in the Rakov area? Herman
became all confused and we had to stop the talk.....