Hildegard Plievier was born in Königshütte, Germany and grew up in East Prussia and Silesia. Her parents wanted her to become a teacher, but instead she took acting lessons and worked as a stage actor for three years. At the Königsberg theater she met director Erwin Piscator, whom she married in 1919. The couple moved to Berlin in 1920, and in 1927 created their own theater.
After a divorce from her first husband, she married Theodor Plievier, a writer, in 1931. With the Nazi rise to power in 1933, the two feared arrest and fled to the Soviet Union. Without passports, they moved around to various cities within the country, including Moscow, Leningrad, and Tashkent, until the end of World War II. They were able to return to the western sector of Germany after the war, although Hildegard said the USSR twice unsuccessfully attempted to bring the couple back by force. She wrote several novels and autobiographical works, including Meine Hunde und Ich (My Dogs and Me, 1957), Gelber Mond über der Steppe (Yellow Moon Over the Steppe, 1958),
Flucht nach Taschkent (Escape to Tashkent, 1960),
Ein Leben gelebt und verloren (A Life Lived and Lost, 1960), and Grenzen der Liebe (Limits of Love, 1966).