René Graetz was born in Berlin in 1908. He grew up in Geneva and completed an apprenticeship as an intaglio printer from 1923. In 1929 he won the competition for best printer of the London newspaper The Times, whereupon he was commissioned to set up a print shop for The Cape Times in Cape Town. After living in South Africa and London, he moved to Berlin in 1946 and worked for the publishing house Volk und Wissen. In 1959 he received the National Prize of the GDR for his contribution to the Buchenwald Memorial, and in 1973 the Käthe Kollwitz Prize of the Academy of Arts of the GDR. Graetz died in 1974 and was buried in East Berlin.