He was born in Warsaw, of Jewish parents. At the age of nineteen he went on the stage. In 1839 he received an appointment to the theater of Lemberg in Galicia. In 1847 he played at Hamburg with marked success. From 1849 to 1854 he was a member of the Burg theatre in Vienna, and then became connected with the Dresden court theater. In 1864 he was given a life engagement, but later resigned it. He visited the United States in 1866. He died in Dresden in 1872.
Dawison was considered in Germany an actor of a new type; a leading critic wrote that he and Marie Seebach swept like fresh gales over dusty tradition, and brushing aside the monotony of declamation gave to their roles more character and vivacity than had hitherto been known on the German stage. His chief parts were Mephistopheles, Franz Moor, Mark Antony, Hamlet, Charles V, Richard III and King Lear.