Paula Gans was born in Hronow near Prague in 1883. She and her brother Richard emigrated to Germany in 1920. She joined the Hamburg Artists’ Association and became friends with the painter Hertha Spielberg. In 1932, Gans and Spielberg travelled to Paris and the south of France. Because she was Jewish, life for Gans in Hamburg became more and more restricted, despite her Czech citizenship. Already in 1933, Gans was excluded from the Hamburg Artists’ Association. In 1935, she was forbidden from exhibiting her work in public. She showed her works at the Jewish Cultural Association.
She gave drawing and painting lessons in order to earn a living. But she suffered more and more from the repressive measures of the National Socialists, and became ever poorer. In November 1941, she and her brother Richard were informed that they were to be deported to the Minsk Ghetto. Gans took her life on 7 November 1941, one day before her planned deportation.