Krull was constantly in motion, from her nomadic childhood to her later sojourns around Europe, Africa, and Asia. Born in East Prussia in 1897, her family eventually settled in Munich in 1912, where she studied photography and opened her own portrait studio in 1919.
Krull’s social circle included artists and intellectuals linked with left-wing politics. One was Kurt Eisner, who became the prime minister of the brief and unrecognized People’s State of Bavaria during the German Revolution. Eisner was assassinated the year Krull found her footing with her portrait studio. The next year, the photographer was exiled from Munich for smuggling Communists across the German-Austrian border.
With her studio work on hold, Krull made her way with Levit, her lover, to Moscow, where she heard Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky speak. Including her time imprisoned, she remained in the U.S.S.R. for a year before she was ultimately expelled.