Cohen's Jewish family was of French origin and language, however, lived in Greece. The mother was Louise, born Ferro, an Italian; the father was Marc Cohen, an industrialist. Albert Cohen was married three times.
The family moved in 1900 to Marseille, where he grew up and became friends with Marcel Pagnol. From 1915 to 1919 he studied law in Geneva. In 1919 he received Swiss citizenship. From 1926 to 1932 he worked in the diplomatic department of the International Labour Organization in Geneva, in 1939 as a legal advisor to the Intergovernmental Council for Refugees. After a stay in Paris, he was from 1940 to 1946 representatives of the Jewish Agency in London. Back in Geneva, he was from 1947 to 1954 director of the service for the legal and diplomatic protection of refugees at the UN. More political office he declined in favor of writing.
To a part of the oeuvre includes Cohen personally colored fonts, such as the autobiographical trilogy Le Livre de ma mère (1954 ), O vous, frères humains (1972) and Carnets (1978). This also includes the play Ezéchiel (1933 at the Comédie Française listed ). On the other hand, Cohen wrote Novels in a heroic- comic style as the Solal Fallot ( Solal, 1930; Mangeclous, 1938 La Belle du Seigneur, 1968; Les Valeureux, 1969), which is considered by some to be his most important work. In a satirical way he describes it as a company that is located in resolution. The irony of the lustful passion that is regarded as a myth, accompanied by a lyrical adoration of women. In all the works of Cohen's Judaism plays an important role.
- Solal. 1930 Solal. Novel. Ins Dt. speak. Franz Hessel & Hans Kauder. Three masks Verlag, Berlin 1932; Klett- Cotta, Stuttgart 1986, ISBN 3-608-95180-6; dtv, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-423-11064-3
- Iron biter. Novel. From d Franz Eugen Helmle. Klett- Cotta, Stuttgart 1984, ISBN 3-608-95273- X; dtv, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-423-11102- X
- The Beauty of the Lord. Novel. From d French trans. by Helmut Kossodo. Klett- Cotta, Stuttgart 1983, ISBN 3-608-95104-0; dtv, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-423-11134-8
- The Beauty of the Lord. Novel. From the French by Helmut Kossodo fundamentally revised. by Michael of Killisch horn. Klett- Cotta, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-608-93939-2
- The Brave. Novel. From the French by Andrea Spingler. Weidle, Bonn 2006, ISBN 3-931135-89-6
- Le livre de ma mère. In 1954. The book my mother. Transmit Lilly Sauter. Desch, Munich / Vienna / Basel 1971, ISBN 3-420-04625-1; Klett- Cotta, Stuttgart 1984, ISBN 3-608-95179-2.