Lila was born Liselott Koch in Mainz, Germany in 1923. Her mother died when she was about 5 and her sister Ruth was 3. Before World War II, Lila had a comfortable and sheltered life.
This period in Lila’s life ended with Kristallnacht—Nazis threw bricks into their bedroom windows, injuring Lila’s grandmother. After Kristallnacht, they relocated to Frankfurt. Lila’s father was arrested and died in a concentration camp, possibly Dachau. Ruth was adopted by a UK family and Lila was sent to the UK for her safety and ended up working for a wealthy Jewish family.
During her time in the UK, Lila experienced numerous air raids. Ruth’s adoptive family lost their house during the bombing and Ruth had to fend for herself thereafter. Lila had some school lessons in England, but they did not last long. Lila’s aunt from Chicago sent a visa for her to travel to the US and she was able to get a job in Chicago as a package-wrapper. She married Leland Winter, and had three children, one of whom passed in a car crash. They were named Lauren, Lance, and Leslie, all named with an L in honor of Ludwig, Lila’s father.
Lila ran a brick business and worked for the Jewish Council of Chicago. In 1947, she brought her sister Ruth to the US from England. In 1988, Lila and Ruth visited Gross-Gerau and Frankfurt by local invitation to speak to students about their lives.