Ges Shnaider was born in 1926 in Kodyma, in southern Ukraine. In 1930, his family moved to Odessa, where he spent his childhood. Ges's father Iukel (sic!) was a soldier in World War I who during the civil war in Russia fought for the Reds.
In 1940, 14-year-old Ges began to study at the Odessa Special Artillery School, which provided its students with both a civilian education and military training.
With the beginning of the Soviet-German war in June 1941, his father was drafted into the Red Army as a sapper. He was killed in 1941, near Zaporozhie, in Eastern Ukraine. When Ges's elder brother Vladimir (who was born in 1923) was drafted, he was first sent to take part in the defense of Odessa. Later, Vladimir participated in the defense of Sevastopol in Crimea (from October 1941 to July 1942), where he was killed at the age of 18. Ges' uncle, Iukel's brother Abram, was killed during the first days of the war. Their mother Riva refused to leave Odessa because her elder son Vladimir was fighting nearby. She, at the age of 39, and her sisters with their families, as well as Ges's paternal grandparents Dvoira and Shmerl, were murdered in Romanian-occupied Odessa.
In July 1941, Ges's school was evacuated from Odessa to Dushanbe (then called Stalinabad, in Tajikistan). There the cadets not only studied civilian and military subjects, but also were mobilized to harvest cotton. In 1943, since anti-tank riflemen were needed, the cadets, despite their education in the sciences, were transferred to the anti-tank artillery school in Fergana, Uzbekistan.
Upon graduating from the anti-tank artillery school in the fall of 1944, Shnaider was promoted to the rank of junior lieutenant and was assigned to the 2nd Belorussian Front. Thus, his war experience began in Poland. He fought at the Vistula River, then in 1945, in Eastern Prussia and in the battle for Berlin. His last post during the war was commander of an artillery platoon. Near Berlin Shnaider was wounded twice on the same day, the first time in the leg, when he refused to leave the field. Shortly afterward, he was again wounded seriously. In 1945, he was awarded the Order of the Red Star.
After the war, Shnaider remained in military service. In the early 1950s he graduated from a military academy. He retired in 1973 and settled in Kuibyshev (now Samara, in Russia). From 1998 to 2006 he worked there at the local affiliate of the Open University of Israel.