Elizaveta Streltsova was born in 1920 in Mogilev. Her father, Gedalia, originally had the last name Taits, but he changed it to Streltsov after the Revolution of 1917, which he ardently supported.
Liza was sent to a Jewish kindergarten, and then to a Yiddish-language school. She later enrolled in a medical course in Bialystok. By that time, this region of Poland had been annexed by the USSR and incorporated into Soviet Byelorussia.
Bialystok was then home to a field hospital, where Streltsova worked as a nurse.
Five days after the Nazi invasion of the USSR, Bialystok was occupied. Fortunately, Liza had been able to leave the city on June 23, 1941.
After volunteering to serve in the Red Army, Elizaveta Streltsova was sent to the front. In 1942-1943, she took part in the bloody battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, evacuating the wounded from the battlefield and giving them medical assistance.
Elizaveta Streltsova met V-E Day in Berlin. However, she harbored no illusions as to the nature of the Soviet regime, having witnessed the prewar repressions and the attitude of the authorities to Red Army POWs. Therefore, she decided to desert from the Red Army. Her mother had been shot in occupied Mogilev back in 1941, and she had no other relatives in the Soviet Union. This made it easier for her to leave.
She sought the assistance of a Jewish committee that was then based in Berlin, and she received the help she needed. She went on to spend three months at a DP camp.
Then, with the cooperation of the US Army, Liza Streltsova was transferred to the German city of Kassel in the American occupation zone, where she worked at a hospital for a brief time. Afterward, with the assistance of the JDC, she and other refugees were smuggled into France. In Marseilles, they were issued fake documents enabling them to immigrate to Palestine.
On May 15, 1948, the day after the declaration of Israeli independence by David Ben-Gurion, Lisa boarded the freight steamer Fabio. They set sail under the Italian flag, and the journey lasted two weeks.
After arriving in Israel, Liza changed her first and last names, becoming Leah Sionski.