He was born in Glogau (today Glogow, Poland) as a son of a Jewish saddler. After attending a gymnasium in Kattowitz (Katowice), he made extensive studies in several universities - Breslau (Wroclaw), Munich, Berlin, Göttingen, Rostock and Tübingen. He was especially influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche's thinking.
His first literary works Novellen um Claudia and Ritualmord in Ungarn gain him wider recognition.
He took part in the I WW and he was converted by his experience from a Prussian patriot to an eager pacifist. By the end of the war he was assigned to the Press department of the German Army Headquarters in Kaunas and there he was first introduced to the East European Jewish organisations.
After the WW I he is an active socialistic zionist in Germany. After the Hitler's coup in 1923 Zweig went to Berlin and worked there as the editor-in-chief of a newspaper "Jüdischen Rundschau". From 1929 he is a contributing journalist of anti-Nazi newspaper "Weltbühne" (World Stage). When the Nazis took over the power in 1933 he was forced into exile, first to Czechoslovakia, then Switzerland and France. After spending some time with Thomas Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger, Anna Seghers and Bertolt Brecht in France he set out to Palestine. In Haifa, Palestine he published a German newspaper "Orient". During the years spent in Palestine he became disillusioned with Zionism and turned to socialism. In 1948 he decided to return to the Soviet Zone (later called the GDR).
In East Germany he was in many ways involved in the communist system. He was a member of parliament, delegate to the World Peace Council Congresses and the cultural advisory board of the communist party. He was President of the German Academy of the Arts from 1950-53. He is rewarded with many prizes and medals by the regime. From 1962 due to health reasons he virtually withdrew from the political and artistic presence.
He died in East Berlin on the 26 November, 1968.
He is best known for his WW I trilogy.
Most important works: