Lev Snisarenko was born in 1924 in Iekaterinoslav (later renamed Dnepropetrovsk; present-day Dnipro, Ukraine), in an assimilated Jewish family. His father Viniamin was a clerk, while his mother Rosalia was a homemaker. In June 1941, following the outbreak of the Soviet-German War, Lev's father and elder brother were drafted into the Red Army, while he and his mother were able to be evacuated to Kazakhstan. His mother was mobilized to work as a nurse at a military hospital. In early 1942, when Rostov-on-Don (North Caucasus, Russia) was temporarily liberated by the Red Army, this hospital was transferred to the city, and Lev followed his mother there. A short time later, Lev showed up at the local recruitment office and volunteered to serve in the Red Army. He was sent to the area of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, where he underwent brief military training, and was then sent to a barrier battalion that was attached to the 51st Division. The Red Army was retreating, and, in late May or early June 1942, after two weeks of fighting, the remnants of Snisarenko's unit were taken prisoner by the Germans.
Snisarenko was sent to a POW camp near Donetsk. Having seen how the Nazis treated "commissars" and Jews, he passed himself off as Aleksei Snisarenko, a Russian. His Ukrainian-sounding last name, coupled with his ethnically "neutral" appearance, helped him survive. He made two abortive escape attempts, but was caught on both occasions. After the second attempt, he was transferred to a camp in his native Dnepropetrovsk, and this was a dangerous development, since some prewar acquaintance might have recognized and denounced him. When rumors of imminent deportation to Germany began to spread among the inmates, Snisarenko escaped, this time successfully. In the fall of 1943, he managed to cross the front lines, and was accepted by the Soviet forces. His screening period was short, as the regiment suffered from an acute shortage of riflemen. The cautious Snisarenko kept his Russian-sounding alias, Aleksei, even in the Red Army.
Lev (Aleksei) Snisarenko took part in the crossing of the Dnieper River in October-November 1943. In the winter of 1943-44, he was wounded and sent to recuperate at a hospital. Later, in 1944-45, he saw action in Bessarabia (Moldova), Romania, Hungary, and Austria, and ended the war in Czechoslovakia.
Only in 1947 was Snisarenko discharged from the army, in the rank of senior sergeant, whereupon he restored his Jewish identity. He then returned to Dnepropetrovsk and went on to work at the Dnepropetrovsk Harvesters Factory for 48 years – beginning as an unskilled laborer, and reaching the post of deputy director of the factory prior to his retirement.
In the mid-1990s, following his children, Snisarenko migrated to Israel.