Boris Pukshanskii was born in 1924 in Ianovichi, north-east Belorussia. His father Efroim worked as a supplier of agricultural products and a veterinary. In 1930, their family moved to nearby Liozno, where Boris graduated from primary school. This school began as a Yiddish-language one, but in 1938 it was "reorganized" to become a Russian school.
With the beginning of the Soviet-German war, the Pukshanskii family did not succeed in fleeing. Boris, his parents, and siblings – except of his elder brother Mikhail, who had settled in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) before the war, were imprisoned in the Liozno ghetto. In February 24, 1942, the Nazis carried out a mass shooting of ghetto inmates. At this time, with other young Jews, Boris was away, engaged in forced labor. Warned by a Belorussian foreman, the young men fled from the working place and managed to cross the frontline (fortunately, after the Red Army counter-offensive from Moscow to the west in January 1942, the frontline was only 50 kilometers from Liozno). Despite his age, (he was only 17), Boris Pukshanskii was assigned to the reconnaissance unit of the 148th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Shock Army. It was this unit that maintained communication between the Red Army and the Soviet partisans in the area and, inter alia, escorted hundreds of Jews from north-east Belorussia to the Soviet rear through the so-called "Surazh Gate" – a corridor between the flanks of the German "North" and "Middle" army groups.
In the summer of 1943, the command of the 4th Shock Army opened a course for military interpreters, and Boris Pukshanskii began this course. He graduated in September and was sent, as a commander of a reconnaissance unit, to his old regiment. In October 1943, Pukshanskii was seriously wounded and then spent two months in hospital. Upon his release, he visited recently liberated Liozno, where he learned that his younger brother Iakov Pukshanskii might still be alive since he had also escaped from the liquidation of the ghetto on February 24, 1942. Their parents and sister Sonia did not survive that day.
Meanwhile, in December 1943, Boris returned to the 4th Shock Army. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and served in the intelligence department of the 103rd Infantry Corps. With this corps, Pukshanskii fought in Belorussia, Lithuania, Latvia, and eastern Prussia. On May 7-8, 1945, he was the Soviet translator during the surrender of the Wehrmacht's 2nd Army in the area of Danzig-Gdynia.
The war ended for Boris Pukshanskii only in 1946 – more than a year after VE-Day since he served as an interpreter in various POW-camps for Wehrmacht soldiers. He was awarded five military orders and many medals. His brother Mikhail was killed in 1941 during the defense of Leningrad. His younger brother Iakov survived. After the war, the two surviving brothers obtained permission from the Liozno authorities to erect a monument at the mass grave of the Liozno Jews and to ensure its upkeep
After the war, Boris Pukshanskii settled in Leningrad, where he worked as an engineer at the shipyards.