Born in Germany to a poor family of 6 children, Risa went to work early aiding an elderly couple. As a child she was well educated because in return for her help, the elderly couple paid her way through school. She was entering adulthood when Hitler came into power. The couple, Mirka and Breine, were practicing Jews and, however wealthy, they were persecuted just the same. Risa decided to make a choice she knew she might one day regret. She hid Mirka and Breine, in agreement with her own family, in the basement of her home. Her mother and father agreed since the pair had been so kind to their only daughter. They gave her access to their home, which she sold for them, and their money, which she kept hidden in her name to keep the SS from discovering and taking it.

The plan worked for less than a year. One of her brothers, aware of the consequences of hiding Jews, went to the SS and informed them of his sister's deeds. In order to save his own life, he joined the German army and was sent to his own home with other troops to capture Mirka and Breine, send them to a work camp as well as his own mother, father and sister.

Upon reaching the camp her parents as well as Mirka and Breine were taken to another camp. She later learned of the gas chambers and that they had died that very day. She remained in the camp, working day in and day out, never growing ill as so many other did. She was one of the very few to survive to the camps liberation. It came like the answer to a prayer - she was set free and with in a week married one of the US soldiers that liberated the camp. She was a smart girl and knew this was the fastest way to American and out of the hell hole once known as Germany. But she quickly fell in love with the man who gave her everything she ever wanted.

In America, as her husband, Scott, aged while she never did. It was not until a strange man who called himself "a watcher" offered her a job in his library. For the next several months, he, Horatio, told her what she was and how he knew. He also told her he should not interfere, but he did because he knew she did not even know what she was and that there were those who preyed on her type.

She did not know how, when or even why but some time during her stay in the work camp, she had died.

Scott died a few years later and ever since she remained in the library. To her fortune the SS never found the money she had hidden and she lived well off of it giving most to the watchers to help document what happened so that others might learn from it. When Horatio passed away, he left the library to her.

Risa has been alone for the past 8 years and spent most of her time working with the poor and needy and keeping the library running. It was like reliving the nightmare of the Holocaust once again as she watched the world around her die.

She remained in Washington, DC for a few days after the world fell silent, but eventually decided to move on in search of others. She met several people and made it to Boulder safely where she spent most of her time with her close friend Chris and a new love interest, Derek. Unfortunately, both were killed in a terrorist attack on Boulder. Left alone with the Watcher laptop, she confided in Stu Redman, not certain where else to turn and knowing she couldn't keep the database to herself any longer.