Kracauer was born into a Jewish family in Frankfurt. From 1907 to 1913 he studied architecture and earned a doctorate in engineering in 1914. At the time, he worked as an architect in Osnabrück, Munich and Berlin, until 1920.
From 1922 to 1933 was Kracauer worked as film and literature editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung News newspaper . Kracauer criticized, reviewed and analyzed in many areas as circuses, photography, movies, advertising, tourism, the layout of cities and dance. Well-known essays of Kracauer were Der Detektiv-Roman and Ornament der Masse. Published In 1930, Kracauer That Angestellten. The article gave a critical view on the new class workers who, at the time, were created. The group he criticized were the Office and administrative jobs and sales departments. According to Kracauer they were spiritually poor and they took away from habits and traditions. They were looking for as the refuge in the ' diversionary industry ', for leisure and entertainment.
After Kracauer had read Karl Marx' work he became a severe critic towards capitalism and eventually took the dismissal at Frankfurter Zeitung. Around the same time (1930), he married Lili Ehrenreich. Also was very critical of Stalinism and the terrorist and totalitarian policy of the Soviet Union .
With the rise of national socialism in 1933, Kracauer migrated to Paris and fled to the United Statesin 1941. From 1941 to 1943 he worked in the Museum of Modern Art(modern art museum) in New York City. In 1947 gave Kracauer From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film (from Caligari to Hitler: a psychological history of the German film) out.
In 1960 published Kracauer 's Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality (theory of film: the redemption of physical reality). Herein Kracauer the claim that realitythe main function of the film has. In his last years was Kracauer worked as a sociologist for different institutes, including in New York City, at the University of Columbia. His latest book History, the Last Things Before the Last (history, the last things for last) was published after his death in 1969--.
Siegfried Kracauer died in 1966 in New York City to a pneumonia.