Rachel Auerbach was born to a Jewish family in Lanowce, Galicia (present-day Lanovtsy, Ukraine), then part of Poland. She attended gymnasium (high school) in Lwów (Lviv) and completed graduate studies in philosophy and history at Jan Kazimierz University. She began her literary and journalistic career in Yiddish and Polish, publishing her first articles in 1925 in Chwila, a Polish daily paper. She founded and edited Tsushtayer, a Yiddish literary journal for art and culture, Moving to Warsaw in 1933, she published many articles in the Yiddish and Polish Jewish press on literature, education, psychology, folklore, art, linguistics, and theater. During the German Occupation of World War II, she was active in Jewish self-help organizations in the Warsaw Ghetto, while keeping a diary. In 1943, she escaped the Ghetto for the "Aryan" side of Warsaw and posed as a non-Jew. At the request of the Jewish National Committee, she wrote articles for an underground publication to inform the Polish public about the conditions inside the Jewish Ghetto and the roundup and deportations of Jews. These and her diary formed the basis of some of her postwar publications. In postwar Poland, she worked to document and collect testimonial accounts and materials and was co-founder of the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Lodz. In Israel from 1950, she collected further testimonies from survivors and published Holocaust period writings and memoirs in various forms. She was the founder and director of the Department for the Collection of Witness Testimony at Yad Vashem. Her books, mostly written and originally published in Yiddish, included In the Fields of Treblinka: Reportage (1947); The Jewish Uprising in Warsaw (1948); Our Reckoning With the German People (1952); In the Streets of Warsaw 1939–1943 (1954); The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (1963); In the Land of Israel: Reportage, Essays, Stories (1964); Warsaw Testaments: Encounters, Activities, Fates 1933–1943 (1974); On the Last Journey: In the Warsaw Ghetto and on the Aryan Side (1977); Warsaw Testaments: Encounters, Activities, Fates 1933–1943 (1985).