Ludwig Jonas was born in 1887 in Bromberg, what was then Eastern Prussia. After taking his final exams, he went to Munich around 1907/08, intending to study medicine. But amid the many museums of the city, including the Pinakotheken and Glyptothek, he began to develop an intense interest in art, especially in the work of Franz von Lenbach, Arnold Bocklin and Franz von Stuck. He decided to become an artist after visiting Freiburg im Breisgau, where his friend Franz Rosenzweig was a medical student (Rosenzweig later became known as a religious philosopher).
In 1909, Jonas broke off his medical studies and moved to Berlin to the Academy of the Arts and Crafts Museum. He was able to join the master class of Emil Orlik, where he studied graphic arts. He also spent several months studying life drawing with Lovis Corinth. After doing a year’s military service, Jonas continued his studies in Paris in 1912 and 1913. During the First World War, he was a volunteer in field hospitals from 1914 to 1918. In 1928 he was made a member of the Association of German Artists. In 1930 Jonas travelled to southern France, where he painted Mediterranean landscapes. In 1933, Jonas emigrated initially to France, and thence in 1935 to Palestine, where he lived in Jerusalem.