Zev Birger, born to a Jewish family in Lithuania, was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust.
After World War II, he married Trudi Birger and emigrated to Israel. The couple had three sons. He worked as director of light industries at the Israeli Ministry for Industry and Trade, then as deputy director of the ministry and as executive director of the Economic Council on Printing and Publishing. He then became head of the Israel Film Center. He lived in Paris for several years as head of the office of International Creative Management and Film Marketing.
In 1983, he became director of the Jerusalem International Book Fair. He endeared himself to publishers, editors and writers, who urged him to publish an autobiography, which appeared in English as No Time for Patience in 1990.