Heinrich Sussmann was born in Tarnopol and came with his family as a refugee to Vienna after World War I. He studied at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts in the class given by Oskar Strnad and worked as a set designer and caricaturist. After the Nazis came to power he fled with his wife Anni (1909–85) to France, where he joined the Resistance. In 1944 Heinrich and Anni Sussmann were arrested by the Gestapo and deported to Auschwitz.
The couple survived and devoted themselves to spotlighting the crimes committed during the Nazi era. In 1946 Heinrich Sussmann took part in the exhibition “Niemals Vergessen” [Never Forget] at the Künstlerhaus, for which he also designed the poster. His oeuvre focuses on the Shoah and the world of orthodox Judaism.
In 1968 he designed the stained-glass windows for the ceremonial hall of the Jewish section of the Central Cemetery in Vienna and in 1978 the windows for the Austrian memorial at Auschwitz. One of his last works was the memorial to the victims of Fascism, which was unveiled on Reumannplatz in Vienna in 1981.
Since 1992 the Jewish Museum Vienna has been responsible for the artistic estate of Heinrich Sussmann (1904–86) as a permanent loan. The collection includes 1,157 drawings, graphics, watercolors, posters, and paintings documenting his artistic output after 1945.