Raisa Shnaider (née Katsman) was born in 1918 in the village of Veledniki, near Zhitomir, in the northern Ukraine. She was evacuated to Saratov, Russia, but in December 1941 she volunteered to take part in the Soviet-German war. She served first as a typist at a SMERSH (anti-espionage) department of the 8th Air Corps, then in reconnaissance, in which capacity she made six parachute jumps. Raisa Katsman finished the war with a higher rank than her future husband. She was a guards senior lieutenant and she received the Order of Patriotic War, 2nd Class and medals. Raisa's two brothers, Mikhail (who was born in 1916) and Avner (who was born in 1920) were killed during the war, in 1943 and 1941, respectively. In the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century Raisa worked with the Samara organization Khesed, which provided aid to the elderly.
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