Three Women Walk into a Berlin Ball

Katie Gee Salisbury
12 min readJan 18, 2022

the shutter click that immortalized Anna, Marlene & Leni

Berlin in the late 1920s was a surreal place. For the Weimar Republic’s greatest artists and bohemian visionaries, the city offered safe harbor and a space in which to experiment freely. At the same time, Berlin symbolized all the stuff that hedonistic dreams are made of, or depending on how you look at it, the death spiral of a decadent, self-destructive society.

After years of penury, of scraping by to do one’s part to support the German struggle…

Katie Gee Salisbury

Author of a new biography of Anna May Wong, forthcoming from Dutton in 2024. Pubbed in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Ringer, and elsewhere.