Zygmund Schreter was born in 1886 in Łódź, Poland, where his father was a textile manufacturer. He studied at a Russian school, and was taught to play the violin by his mother. In 1914 he set out for Karlsbad in Germany, but was imprisoned as a Russian civilian prisoner during the First World War. From 1923, Schreter studied in Berlin, and largely earned his living as a violinst, playing with the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra and at the Max Reinhart theatre. In 1929, he exhibited in Berlin at an exhibition organised by Käthe Köllwitz. Schreter arrived in France in 1934, settling first in Cannes before moving to Paris. During the Occupation, Schreter remained in his Paris studio, protected by his neighbours. He died in Paris in 1977.