Salcia Landmann, née Passweg, was born to a Jewish family in Zhovkva, Galicia, in present-day Ukraine. In 1914, the family moved to Switzerland. She studied law and philosophy at the University of Berlin, and also learned to become a fashion illustrator. After 1933, she continued her studies in philosophy at the University of Basel and the University of Zurich, where she wrote a dissertation on phenomenology and ontology. In 1939, she married the philosopher Michael Landmann, with whom she had a son. In 1960, she published her first book, Der Jüdische Witz (Jewish Jokes), which analyzed the origin and history of the oral tradition of Jewish humor. It became a bestseller and was translated into several languages. It was followed by a dozen more books on Jewish themes; she also edited several anthologies. In 1978, together with 19 fellow writers, she co-founded the Liechtenstein PEN Club. She also worked to preserve the Yiddish language.