In 1942 Schneider joined the Luftwaffe serving as a dive bomber pilot. Stationed in Poland, he witnessed the execution of a group of Jews by members of the SS. He claimed that following this experience he began to pretend to be ill in order to avoid combat, missed assigned targets, and tampered with bombs to prevent detonation. As a penitence following the war, he worked for twenty years as a coal miner, donating two thirds of his income anonymously to groups supporting Jewish orphans and survivors of the concentration camps.
In 1965, he emigrated to Israel, buying a farm in Galilee, Israel. Schneider changed his name to Reuel Abraham, converted to Judaism, and became a citizen of Israel. He was circumcised in a hospital in Haifa.