Moisei Shapiro was born in 1909 in Minsk. His father was co-owner of the Goldberg and Shapiro Pharmaceutical Company, which had been founded in 1843. After the revolution of 1917, the company was nationalized. Moisei and his younger brother Boris received their first education at home with private tutors; they learned Hebrew, German, and French. After the revolution, the brothers studied at a Soviet school. Upon graduating, Moisei entered the Minsk Medical Institute. While studying there, he married fellow student Valentina Kozlovskaia. Kozlovskaia was a Belorussian by ethnicity and a repatriate from Latvia, where she had taken part in the Belorussian national movement and written poetry in Belarusian. The couple had two sons Itamar (who was born in 1931) and Mark (who was born in 1933). In November 1931, after Shapiro graduated from the Institute, he was drafted into the Red Army and became a professional military man. In 1937, when Moisei and his wife were serving as doctors with a cavalry regiment stationed in the vicinity of Minsk, Kozlovskaia was arrested on the ridiculous charge that she was simultaneously a Belarusian nationalist and a spy for Latvian intelligence. She was executed in March 1938. At the end of the following year Moisei Shapiro married Maria Orlovskaia, his former domestic servant, who like his first wife, was a non-Jew. Moisei and Maria had two daughters -- Dolores and Bella.
In September 1939, with his regiment, Shapiro took part in the Soviet invasion of Eastern Poland, which ended with the annexation of this area to the Soviet Union and, in 1940, he participated in the military occupation and annexation of Lithuania. In March 1941, Military Physician 3rd rank (equal to the rank of captain) Moisei Shapiro was appointed to the medical-sanitary service of the 204th Motorized Division, located in West Belorussia (formerly Eastern Poland). In June 1941, Shapiro took leave to visit the parents of his second wife, Ukrainian peasants from the village of Shapovalivka in the Chernigov Region, in northern Ukraine. On June 21, 1941, a day before the German invasion of the Soviet Union, he received a telegram ordering to return to his military unit. Moisei went back to West Belorussia, leaving behind his wife and four children in the village. They subsequently survived two years of the German and Hungarian occupation. Mark Shapiro, Moisei's second son, testified that the parents of his stepmother, common Ukrainian peasant, who hated fiercely and equally the pre-revolutionary estate owners, the Communists and their collective farms, and the Jews "who had crucified Jesus," saved the lives of their four "half-Jewish" grandchildren, two of their own and two they adopted.
Shapiro failed to find and rejoin his division, which had been scattered by the enemy during the first days of the war. Having narrowly escaped being captured as a POW, he fled eastward and was taken by the 42nd Division as the head of its medical service. He later rose to the rank of the head of a surgical hospital of the 28th Rifle Corps, which was part of the 13th Army. From July to September 1941, the corps was in retreat. Later the 13th Army took part in the Stalingrad Operation and, in the summer of 1943, in the Kursk Operation. His hospital was located close to the frontlines and was often bombed or shelled. At that time, Moisei Shapiro was awarded the Order of Red Star and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel of the medical service.
In the fall of 1943, when the area south of Chernigov was liberated, Moisei was able to visit for a single day the village of Shapovalivka, where his family was living. Since Shapovalivka was now in the Red Army rear, Moisei decided to leave his family there until the end of the war.
In 1944, Shapiro fought in West Ukraine and in Poland. During the fighting in Ukraine, soldiers of the 13th Army found a Jewish boy and his father who had spent the previous two and a half years in a cesspit in a village. Due to lack of food, they were suffering from extreme dystrophy. The soldiers transferred the twelve-year old Iona (Ionik) Ainbinder and his father for treatment to Surgical Hospital No. 507, which was headed by Moisei Shapiro. After healing the boy, Shapiro kept him at the hospital as a "son of the regiment." After the war, when Shapiro was serving as a doctor in Rovno, in West Ukraine, Ionik lived with him and was the best friend of his son Mark. In 1946, the Ionik's father came to Rovno. He took his son and they left for Poland with intention of immigrating to Palestine. Neither Moisei nor Mark Shapiro knew anything about their subsequent fate.
On May 9, 1945, when Surgical Hospital No. 507 was located in Döbern, near Cottbus in Germany, Shapiro learned of the capitulation of the German army. He was motivated to travel to Berlin and leave his signature in Hebrew on the wall of the Reichstag.
Moisei Shapiro was awarded three military orders and several medals. After the war, he continued to serve as a military physician. After he retired, he worked as a civilian doctor in Rovno. He died in 1980.
His grandson Stanislav Shapiro is an active member of the Jewish community in Novgorod Velikii in northern Russia.
A meeting that Moisei had in Poland in 1945, as described in an essay by Moisei's son Mark Shapiro and grandson Stanislav Shapiro.
"Somewhere in Poland there was a remarkable meeting. A Polish nobleman invited Moisei Shapiro to his estate for a supper. Father [Moisei Shapiro] noted that 'the meeting passed in a warm and friendly atmosphere' [this phrase was a cliché of postwar Soviet journalism]. The conversation was conducted in Polish, which Dad, who was a polyglot and a lover of books, knew very well. Besides, having taken part in the "liberation" of 1939 [the Soviet euphemism for the annexation of Eastern Poland] in West Belorussia, he and his military unit had been stationed in the town of Zambrow, where he was in contact with the local intelligentsia and enjoyed reading Polish books and magazines that were not accessible to a[n ordinary] Soviet person. The familiarity of the Soviet officer with the details of the cultural life of prewar Poland delighted the old man so much that after the supper he said, "My son, I do not know what circumstances make you pretend to be a Jew, but I know for sure that you are a Pole.'"
(Mark Shapiro, Stanislav Shapiro, "Nachalnik gospitalia," in: Korni, 25 (2005), p. 88)
 Mark Shapiro, Stanislav Shapiro, "Nachalnik gospitalia," in: Korni, 25 (2005), p. 83, 85, 87.