Edith Birkin (née Hoffmann) was born into a Jewish family in Prague, Czechoslovakia on 13 November 1927. As a girl of 14, she entered the Lodz ghetto in Poland and three years later was sent to Auschwitz, the largest of the German Nazi concentration camps and extermination centres. She survived a death march to Flossenbürg Camp and was finally liberated from Bergen-Belsen Camp in 1945. On her return to Prague, she discovered that none of her family had survived. Shortly after liberation, she recorded her experiences, later published in 2001 in the form of a novel, 'Unshed Tears', under her maiden name, Edith Hofmann.

In 1946 she settled in England, where she became a teacher, adopted three children and took classes in the History of Art and in Fine Art. Her painting focused on her memories and experiences of the Holocaust and she also published a book of poems, entitled 'The Last Goodbye'. Her work was exhibited at venues including Coventry Cathedral (1984), North Stafford Polytechnic (1984) and as part of the Anne Frank exhibition in Manchester in 1987. She held a solo exhibition at Ben Uri Gallery entitled 'Memories of the Holocaust' in 1989, and her work has also been included in group shows including Czech Jewish Artists from the Ben Uri Collection (1998) and Liberators: Extraordinary Women Artists from the Ben Uri Collection (2018). Edith Birkin moved to Herefordshire in the 1980s, where she died on 20 September 2018 at the age of 90. Her work is in UK collections including Birmingham Museums Trust, Hereford Museum and Art Gallery and the Imperial War Museum.