Tosia Schneider passed away peacefully Sept. 6, 2020. She was born the second child of Jacob and Genia Szechter in the province of Galicia, Poland, April 4, 1929. She led an idyllic childhood, surrounded by a large, loving extended family. But from 1939 through 1945, she suffered through unimaginable pain and devastation in the ghettos of Horodenka and Tluste and the labor camp of Lisowce. By the time World War II ended, the world she had known as a girl was destroyed, and all of her immediate family and most of her extended family had been murdered.
She came to the USA in the spring of 1949 and soon reconnected with the English teacher she’d met in Germany after the war, who had not only introduced her to the English language but also art, music and poetry.
This man, Alfred Schneider, became her husband and the two celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this past August. With “not two pennies to rub together” they built a new life together and raised a loving family. With her characteristic determination, and despite the fact that so many years of life and learning had been robbed from her, Tosia taught herself to type, drive, cook, garden, keep house, learn new languages, become a life-long avid reader, raise children and build a loving and supportive marriage.
When living in New York, Tosia studied at the Hebrew Union College, and she taught Hebrew school in Reform congregations, including The Temple, for over 30 years. Through Alfred’s work they moved across the country from New York to New Jersey, Baltimore, Illinois, South Carolina, Boston, and eventually Atlanta, where they lived for over 30 years. Tosia’s affable and caring nature enabled her to make close friends wherever she went.
Although the Shoah cast a pall of loss and pain over Tosia’s entire adult life, she fulfilled the promise made to her mother to “survive and tell the world.” In her later years, Tosia dedicated herself to public speaking about her experiences during the war, ensuring that future generations never forget the lessons of the Shoah. Her inspiring memoir was published in three different languages and has been read by thousands of people across the world.
All those who passed time with her marveled at Tosia’s fierce strength, unflinching bravery, ingenuity, kindness, passion and grace.
Her family was her greatest pride and joy, and she never wavered in her dedication to those she held dear. She joins her husband Alfred Schneider, daughter Hedwig, brother Julek Szechter, and parents Jacob and Genia Szechter. Tosia leaves her sons James, George and David; grandchildren Lilly, Isabel, Samuel, Benjamin and Zachariah Schneider; and a network of loving extended family across the world.
Due to COVID-19, the funeral was limited to immediate family only and was livestreamed. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.