Valerie Furth, née Jakober, was born in Munkacs, Czechoslovakia, to a wealthy Orthodox Jewish family. In 1944, as an 18-year-old art student, she was deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz, along with her entire family. She survived to be liberated in April 1945. She emigrated to the USA in 1948, settling in New York City, and married Frank Furth in 1949. She studied with Louise Nevelson and became an accomplished painter and sculptor. In the mid-1970s, she began to bear witness to her wartime experiences with a series of paintings and sculptures. She then published a memoir, Cabbages and Geraniums: Memories of the Holocaust (1989), and told her story in schools and communities.