Born on 9 August 1963 in Berlin; married.
Attended polytechnic school from 1969 to 1979. Studied at the Central Institute of the Pioneer Organisation, qualifying to head a school Pioneer group and teach German and art in 1983. Studied at the party’s Karl Marx higher education institute, graduated in social science in 1988.
Head of school Pioneer group and teacher from 1983 to 1985. From 1988 to 1990 member of staff responsible for training and continuing education in the Pioneer Organisation/Central Council of the Free German Youth; worked full-time for the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) from January 1991 to November 1995.
From 1995 to 2000 member of the supervisory board of the Grüne Mitte housing cooperative, member of the Hellersdorf, Mahlsdorf, Kaulsdorf heritage association, the board of trustees of the Foundation for a German Holocaust Museum, the association of friends of Friedrichsfelde zoo and the German Association for Parliamentary Questions.
Member of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) from 1983, and of the PDS from 1990; from January to October 1991 chairwoman of the Hellersdorf borough branch of the PDS; from October 1991 to October 1992 deputy chairwoman and from October 1992 to December 2001 chairwoman of the Berlin Land branch of the PDS. Deputy party chairwoman from October 2000 to October 2002; member of Hellersdorf borough council from 1990 to 1995. Member of Berlin House of Representatives from November 1995 to October 1998.
Member of the German Bundestag since 1998; deputy chairwoman of the PDS parliamentary group from October 2000 to October 2002, unattached Member during the 15th electoral term. Deputy chairwoman of the parliamentary group with responsibility for the areas of civil rights and democracy since October 2005. Vice-President of the German Bundestag since 7 April 2006.