Born in Poznan to an affluent family, she studied photography and opened her studio in Munich in 1918. In these years she became an active member of the Comunist Party, got arrested and expelled from Germany. She moved to Russia but was expelled as an anti-Bolshevik and returned to Berlin to open her studio. After meeting Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens, she relocated to Amsterdam and worked on a photobook of 64 photography of Paris, Marseille and Amsterdam. From 1928 she started to collaborate with magazines such as Vu, as a photojournalist and with Weekly Illustrated in Britain. She travelled to Montecarlo, and worked for Black Star photojournalism agency. During WWII she moved to Brazil and Africa. She was also co-owner of the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok.