Sculptor Edith Kiss (née Edit Rott) was born into a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary on 21 November 1905 and studied art in Budapest, sculpture in Düsseldorf, and painting with István Réti in an artists’ colony in Nagybánya (Siebenbürgen), Romania. Afterwards, prior to the Second World War, she established a successful career as a sculptor in Budapest, where she married her first husband, Tivadar Bán. In the 1930s she joined the Association of Socialist Artists, and met modernist painter Bela Kadar, with whom she exhibited in 1943 at the Tamas Galeria, Budapest. She was also commissioned by the city’s Hitelbank (Credit Bank) to create a life-sized sculpture, Woman (which went missing after the bank’s seizure by the communist government, after the end of the Second World War). In 1944, following the German occupation of Hungary, Kiss was deported to Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp and later to the Daimler Benz factory 60 km from Berlin, where, as a forced labourer, she was among 1,000 women employed in aircraft engine manufacture for the Nazis. While in Ravensbrück, she made a series of twelve drawings, Life in the Camp, which was discovered and destroyed by the guards. In 1945 the factory was evacuated as the Red Army advanced, and Kiss and her friend Agnes Bartha escaped a forced march, going into hiding and eventually making their way back to Budapest, suffering further violence at the hands of Russian soldiers en route. Kiss afterwards executed a series of 30 figurative gouache sketches based on the women's experiences in the camps, which were exhibited in late 1945. In 1948 she had a solo exhibition at the Muvesz Galeria, Budapest, showing 20 sculptures and was commissioned to create four large stone reliefs, known as the Deportation series, commemorating Jewish suffering and set in the outer wall of the city’s Újpest Synagogue
In 1949 she left Budapest with her second husband, Dr. Sándor Kiss, moving first to Paris, France, then Casablanca, Morocco; they returned to Paris in 1956, taking French citizenship, and she exhibited regularly at the Galerie Raymond Duncan, Paris. In 1962, following her husband’s death, Kiss moved to London, where she worked in Anna Freud’s Child Therapy Clinic in Hampstead. She committed suicide in a hotel in Paris, France on 27 October 1966. In 1996 a posthumous exhibition was held at the Hungarian Jewish Museum in Budapest (where she is known as Bán Kiss Edit). In 2014 a street in Berlin, Germany, 'Edith Kiss Strasse', was renamed in her honour and a commemorative exhibition of her work was held at the Daimler Benz building in the city. Her work is held in public collections in Hungary and in the Ben Uri Collection in the UK. Her untitled figurative group sculpture was included in Ben Uri's remounted centenary exhibition, entitled 100 for 100: Ben Uri - Past, Present, Future, at Christie's South Kensington in London in 2016, and at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, also in 2016.