Auerbach studied Medicine at the Universities of Breslau, Berlin and the Leipzig. He became a doctor in 1849, gaining his habilitation in 1863. From 1872 he was an associate professor of neuropathology at the University of Breslau.
His is credited with the discovery of Plexus myentericus Auerbachi, or Auerbach's plexus, a layer of ganglion cells that provide control of movements of the gastro-intestinal tract. It is also known as the "myenteric plexus".
"Friedreich–Auerbach disease" is named after Auerbach and pathologist Nikolaus Friedreich (1825-1882). It is a rare disease characterized by hemi-hypertrophy of the facial features, tongue and tonsils.
Auerbach died in Breslau.