She is the most prominent name when you think about cinema and Berlin, and she came to the world as Marie Magdalene Dietrich, but everybody knows a slightly different name. Marlene Dietrich was born in Schöneberg back in December 1901, precisely on Leberstrasse 65.
After visiting her final resting place a couple of years ago, I wondered where Marlene Dietrich was born in Berlin. After visiting the Gasometer in Schöneberg in the same neighborhood, I managed to find an answer to that question.
Marlene Dietrich Early Life in Berlin-Schöneberg
Marlene Dietrich was born on what was known as Sedanstrasse 53; later, the street changed its name to Leberstrasse.
The neighborhood is nicknamed the Rote Insel due to its left-wing leaning. Her father was a policeman, but he died when she was still a child. Her mother married again to an aristocratic first lieutenant who died during the First World War.
As a child, her family nicknamed her “Lene” and combined this with her real name to become the Marlene the world knew. She studied at the Victoria-Luise-Schule in Wilmersdorf and learned to play the violin. As a teenager, she was interested in poetry, theater, and music.
But after hurting her wrist, she gave up her dreams of becoming a concert violinist.
But she didn’t quit performing, and her first professional stage appearances were in the infamous Berlin cabarets of the 1920s. Later, she was spotted by Rudolf Sieber, a casting director from UFA studios, whom she later married. Together, they had one daughter, Maria Elisabeth Sieber. They separated in 1929 but never divorced.
In 1930, she appeared in The Blue Angel, and her rise to fame started. She moved to Hollywood, and her relationship with Germany was never the same. She was invited by Adolf Hitler to return to Berlin and work here, but she thought he was an idiot and took a strong anti-Nazi position, and her movies were banned in Germany.
In July 2008, Berlin decided to celebrate Marlene Dietrich’s history with the city, and a commemorative plaque went up in front of the place where she was born. As one of the most famous daughters of the town, it’s great to see a memorial to her as a way to preserve her legacy as an artist and a robust anti-fascist pacifist.
We visited Marlene Dietrich’s birthplace in Schöneberg in the summer of 2020, and you should do it, too.
Not that far away from it, you can find her final resting place at the Friedhof Schöneberg III in Friedenau.
Where was Marlene Dietrich born in Berlin?
Leberstraße 65, 10829 Berlin