Meier Shulman was born in 1908 in Berdichev, Ukraine. His father Iankel, a Jack-of-all-trades, was killed in 1920, during the Civil War, by a gang of antisemitic "Greens" (those who had joined neither the revolutionary "Reds" nor the monarchist "Whites"). Meier started working at the age of 16. His attempt to study at an institute (technical university) failed, since he was unable to work and study at the same time. In 1933, Meier got married. In August 1939, he was drafted into the Red Army, and took part in the Soviet invasion of Poland.
At the beginning of the Soviet-German war in June 1941, Meier's military unit was deployed at the Southwestern Front, in western Ukraine. At the end of June, after a week of fighting and retreating, he found himself encircled, and, unable to cross the front lines to re-join the Soviet forces, he decided to go to his native Berdichev. The Jews of Berdichev had already been locked up in a ghetto, and Meier narrowly escaped their fate. He managed to reach Vinnitsa, where nobody knew him personally, and worked at a factory. In November 1941, Meier Shulman became involved with the Soviet military underground, and later joined the partisans.
Berdichev was liberated by the Soviets in January 1944, and in March that year Shulman was drafted into the Red Army once again. He served as a mortar gunner with the 945th Rifle Regiment at the 3rd Belorussian Front, and later as the telephone operator of a mortar company. He fought in western Russia and Belorussia (the Rudnia-Vitebsk area), and later in Lithuania and East Prussia – where, in February 1945, he was seriously wounded. Shulman met V-E Day at a hospital. Despite being awarded the Order of the Red Star and military medals, he finished the war in the rank of private.
Meier Shulman was discharged from military service in October 1945, and returned to Berdichev. The authorities issued him a new ID, in which he was registered as Miron Shulman. According to his son Iakov Shulman, Meier never watched films about the war, claiming that they were all lies.1 At the same time, he also cut all ties with his numerous relatives in the USA, fearing reprisals on the part of the authorities, which could be brutal.
Meier Shulman died in 1991 in Petah Tikva, Israel.