Education and work
After GCSEs Marie Schlei graduated from the first and second teacher exam, worked as a shop assistant and as postal and administrative staff in local government. In 1945, she fled from Pomerania to the forested mountains. She then worked as a teacher or principal, most recently as a school superintendent from 1947.
Since 1949, Marie Schlei was a member of the SPD.
Member of Parliament
From 1969 until the resignation on November 3, 1981, she was a member of the German Bundestag. Here they belonged from 1973 to 1974 the leadership of the SPD parliamentary group on. From 1978 to 1980 she was chairman of the Foreign Policy Working Group of the SPD parliamentary group. Since 1980, she was then deputy chairman of the SPD parliamentary group.
From 1974 to 1976 she was Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery. After the general election in 1976, she was appointed on 14 December 1976 as Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation in the run by Chancellor Helmut Schmidt federal government. She fell through racist remarks such as " The Negroes are like the Jews, the smell whether you like them " on. In the reshuffle in the spring of 1978, she was no longer taken into account and therefore resigned on February 16, 1978 from the federal government. The German city of Bonn has honored her in 2012 by renaming a street in the Marie Schlei Avenue.
On 26 November 2009 a Berlin memorial plaque at their former home, Berlin- Tegel, Allmendeweg 112 attached.