Boris Dorfman lived in Chişinău until the beginning of the war. Both of his parents were imprisoned under Soviet occupation in 1940. He grew up with one sister, who was killed in the Chişinău ghetto. He attended religious school and then a Zionist primary school for four years, before he graduated from a Romanian secondary school. Soon after he finished a technical college to study construction, he was drafted into the Red Army. He spent the war years in the military, before he was sent off to Siberia as forced laborer. He worked as coachman until the war ended. He returned to Chişinău in 1946 and continued his studies. He worked as chief engineer at a factory for thirty-five years.