So back from a wonderful visit to Berlin where we did all the stuff you would expect (said hello to Nefertiti, ate lots of cake, drank lots of Berliner Weisse mit Himbeer and developed a taste for currywurst) but interestingly the one thing that stuck in my head from this trip was triggered by a postcard I bought of an Otto Dix painting (which isn’t even in Berlin) – a portrait of the dancer Anita Berber from 1925.

Apart from the glorious colour I was fascinated by her face and went off to try to find out more about her.

Books weren’t plentiful (I think there is one biography in English) but I remembered that I had a copy of Anton Gill’s A Dance Between Flames: Berlin Between the Wars and sure enough there she was:

She could have reached the peak of her profession, but she went to the bad, and in Berlin in the Twenties you could do that very thoroughly. She attracted scandal wherever she went […]

Addictions to alcohol, cocaine and morphine led to her developing consumption and she was dead at 29. She has become a cult figure in Berlin and if I’d only known before I went I could have visited her house and taken a picture of the plaque marking the spot. But there you are.

I have a real urge to go off and watch Cabaret again.

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