Born in Uman, in 1917 (year of the Russian Revolution), he went to Odessa when he had just more than one year, living there until he was 8, when he came to Brazil. He was the first teacher of Russian literature of University of São Paulo, in 1960, despite being graduated in agronomy. He translated the great Russian writers and poets, like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gorky, Babel, Pasternak, Pushkin and Mayakovsky.
When he was 8, before leaving USSR, he saw the filming of the classical scene from the Odessa Steps of the legendary Sergey Eisenstein's film The Battleship Potemkin. But Schnaiderman only understand what he was seeing after watching the movie in the cinema.
He became a Brazilian naturalized citizen in 1941 and fought in the World War II in the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, an experience that inspired him to write the romance Guerra em Surdina ("Muted War"). Due to the way that the Russian culture was seen in the Military dictatorship period in Brazil, his positions against the repression and because he has Soviet passport, Schnaiderman was arrested while he was lecturing.
In 2003, he received the Prize of Translation by the Academia Brasileira de Letras. He was the first person who translated to Portuguese classical Russian books directly from the Russian language; before this, indirect translations which decharacterized them were very common. In 2007 he also received the Medal of Pushkin from the Russian government.
About Dostoevsky, he said: "Dostoevsky is the kind of writer who drags us; while we have to agree with him, we have to turn against him. I mean, sometimes I translate something that contradicts my deepest convictions. Dostoevsky was a great writer, he had that understanding, that extraordinary humanity, while he was racist, chauvinistic, sexist."