Nahum Shifmanovich was born as Nochum Szifmanowicz in 1922 in the town of Żołudek, northeastern Poland (now Zhaludok, Belarus). His father owned a textile shop. In September 1939, with the beginning of World War II, the Soviets annexed this area and nationalized many businesses, including the textile shop.
After the German attack on the Soviet Union, Żołudek was occupied by the Wehrmacht on June 27, 1941, i.e., on the sixth day of the war. In November 1941, a ghetto was established in Żołudek, and Nahum became one of its inmates. On the day of the liquidation of the ghetto, May 9, 1942, Nahum and his younger brother Shleime (Shlomo) were in a labor camp at the nearby railway station of Skrzybowce. After the murder of Żołudek's Jews, including Nahum's parents and sister, the young men who worked at Skrzybowce were transferred to the ghetto of nearby Lida. The Shifmanovich brothers realized that they would inevitably be killed by the Nazis. Consequently, Shleime was the first to escape to the Soviet partisans and Nahum followed in October 1942. After his exclusively Jewish unit, the Orla detachment (Orlianskii otriad) was dissolved by the Soviet partisan command, Nahum continued fighting, as a private in the Krasnogvardeets detachment of the Lenin Brigade.
On July 1, 1944, Nahum's detachment met advancing units of the Red Army. Shortly before that his brother Shleime was killed in battle. Nahum was immediately drafted into the Red Army to serve as a private to the infantry. In September 1944 he was wounded and, after a two-week stay in a field hospital, he was transferred as a mortar-gunner to the 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade of the 2nd Belorussian Front. With this brigade, he took part in the encirclement of Memel (Klaipėda, now in Lithuania) and in the offensive against Eastern Prussia. In January 1945 he was seriously wounded near the Polish-Prussian border town of Mława. Shifmanovich met Victory Day in a hospital. After his release, he was decorated with the medal For Battle Merit and transferred to a Red Army unit that was guarding a camp for German POWs in Russia. He later noted that one of the reasons for this transfer was his basic knowledge of German. He was released from army service in December 1946.
After his demobilization, Nahum Shifmanovich settled in Shchuchyn (former Szczuczyn), a larger town close to the town of Żołudek. He worked in state trade. Shifmanovich was one of the initiators of a successful effort, in the relatively liberal post-Stalin "Thaw" between 1959 and 1963, to erect a monument to commemorate the Jews murdered in Żołudek in 1942. Thus, the town authorities erected an obelisk commemorating the 2,000 "peaceful Soviet civilians" (their Jewish identity was not indicated) who had been murdered on May 9, 1942.
In 1990, following his children, Shifmanovich immigrated to Israel, where he died in 2015.