Gisela Stange was born in Berlin on 14 March 1929. At the age of ten she joined the Hitler Youth (HJ), the Nazi organisation for young people. From 1939 on, all 10-to-18-year-olds were obliged to become members. Away from their families, young people were taught about the Nazi ideology. In January 1945, Gisela Stange completed a first-aid course in the HJ and became a so-called Gesundheitsdienstmädel.
From February 1945 she belonged to the medical service of the German Volkssturm, a military formation in which young people and older men were deployed at the front during the final phase of the war. A few days after 16 April 1945, when the Soviet armed forces began their Berlin offensive, she and other members of the Volkssturm received orders to move towards the city centre. She had to rescue wounded soldiers at risk of her own life. She got as far as the government quarter. From there she fled north through the S and U Bahn tunnels. On her way through the tunnels her head was grazed by a bullet.
She was captured by Soviet soldiers at Seestraße underground station in northwest Berlin and taken to a small factory nearby. Fearing rape, she concealed her long hair, but her disguise was discovered. Soviet soldiers kicked her in the face until several of her teeth had been knocked out, but the intervention of a Soviet officer saved her from being raped. Three days later she was forced along with other prisoners to march eastward out of Berlin. In an unguarded moment she escaped and returned to her family in Berlin.