Born to a working-class family, Doris Gercke's family could not afford higher education for her, so she became an administrator at the age of 16. Married at 20, she had her second child at the age of 22, and gave up working to be a full-time homemaker and mother. In 1980 Gercke finally fulfilled her dream of studying law, funded by a scholarship. However, she never practiced, and wrote her first novel in 1988.
Gercke identifies with the political left and is connected with pacifism and the struggle against neo-fascism and communism. She takes part in political marches and demonstrations. She also participates in the UZ-Pressefesten (loosely, "Media Festivals") of the German Communist Party.