His father, a school teacher, did not return from the war. In 1945 his mother and two siblings fled from the Red Army and ended up in Berlin, where he went to school and spent his entire youth. In 1958 Selchow began studying at the University of Braunschweig, to become a teacher as well. In 1961 he began working as a teacher and retired being a principal in 1995. Selchow is married and has four children who are also married. He has five grandchildren and as of 2008 one great grandchild.
His passion for jazz started in Berlin at the age of 12, where he and his friend often got together, to listen to the few, old 78 vinyl records they owned. It was during those years that many of the great Jazz musicians came to Berlin. Selchow would rarely miss an opportunity to see one of the greats, like Roy Eldridge, Buck Clayton, Bill Harris, Lester Young, Flip Phillips, Illinois Jacquet, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson and others with "Jazz at the Philharmonic".
Many of the great bands came through as well: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman. Lionel Hampton did come several times and became a favorite of young Selchow. In 1955 Louis Armstrong came to the "Berlin Sportpalast", bringing along one of Manfred Selchow's "heroes" — Edmond Hall. Slechow remembers: "I had heard him before on records, but seeing him there, that was something else! A love was born." Berlin saw them all, all the greats - Billie Holiday, Coleman Hawkins, Red Norvo, Benny Goodman, and many more.
Since 1986 Selchow has organized and accompanied 33 jazz tours in Germany and Switzerland. Selchow had the opportunity to meet many of the great legends, like Wild Bill Davison, Yank Lawson, Ralph Sutton, Jack Lesberg, Norris Turney, Oliver Jackson, Nat Pierce, Peanuts Hucko and Bob Haggart many of who became friends of Selchow. Selchow is also an International Member of the Association of Jazz Record Collectors. His collection contains about 3,000 LPs, 4500 CDs, hundreds of 78s and more than 7,000 tape cassettes. He also owns a collection of about 200 films of rare jazz music footage.
- Manfred Selchow; Karsten Lohmann (1981). Edmond Hall - a discography. K. Lohmann. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Manfred Selchow (1988). Profoundly Blue: A Bio-Discographical Scrapbook on Edmond Hall. Manfred Selchow and Uhle and Kleimann. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Ding! Ding! A Bio-discographical Scrapbook on Vic Dickenson. Manfred Selchow. 1998. p. 947.
The books have received a positive reception from critics. Stanley Dance wrote a review of the Vic Dickenson in which he said What with Selchow’s similar 640-page book on Edmond Hall (Profoundly Blue) and the late Klaus Stratemann’s Duke Ellington Day by Day and Film by Film, it is necessary to recognize that some of the best, ego-free jazz scholarship is now coming from Germany. Bruce D Epperson also writes about him
- Dance, Stanley. "Jazz Reviews: Ding! Ding! A Bio-Discographical Scrapbook on Vic Dickenson". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Epperson, Bruce D. More important than the music. A history of Jazz discography.