Gisela Quasdorf was born in 1953 in Radebeul near Dresden. She grew up in a children´s home after her mother was imprisoned. This experience formed her attitude towards East Germany. She left the Free German Youth (FDJ, Freie Deutsche Jugend) and the Society for German and Soviet Friendship (DSF, Gesellschaft für Deutsch-Sowjetische Freundschaft) and refused to take part in elections.
Various petitions to leave the GDR were denied, after which Quasdorf attempted to escape, leading to her arrest in 1978 and release in 1979 due to West German intervention.