Born Lilia Sofer on November 28, 1896, and raised in Vienna, Austria, Lilia Skala's parents were Katharina Skala (Catholic) and Julius Sofer (Jewish). Her father worked as a manufacturers representative for the Waldes Kohinoor company. Lilia Skala had two sisters, Lisl (later known in the United States as Elizabeth Polk, later a renowned dance therapy pioneer) and Felicitas ("Lizi"; pronounced Litzi; an infant/baby nurse). All three sisters adopted their mother's gentile maiden name of "Skala" and later emigrated to the United States.
Lilia Skala would become a star on two continents. In pre-World War II Austria she starred in famed Max Reinhardt's stage troupe, and in post-war America she would become a notable matronly, award-worthy character star on Broadway and in films. Forced to flee her Nazi-occupied homeland with her Jewish husband, Louis Erich Pollak (who also adopted his mother-in-law's gentile maiden name of "Skala") and two young sons in the late 1930s, Lilia and her famil