- Shlomo Balsam is the son of Aharon Yaakov Balsam (Jacques, b. Nov. 23, 1910) and Miriam Einhorn Balsam (b. 1913). Both of his parents were born in Gorlice, Poland. Shlomo was born after the war on October 13, 1948. Aharon Yaakov Balsam was one of seven children from a Hassidic family. All of his siblings perished in the Holocaust. Aharon (now Jacques) immigrated to Paris on November 23, 1929 on his 19th birthday where he was greeted by his sister Sarah who was already living in France. Soon after, he cut off his traditional ear locks and assumed a more secular appearance. He worked in various sundry jobs. He and Sarah peddled sacks of leather and began making gloves. After the start of World War II, he tried unsuccessfully to volunteer for the French Foreign Legion. In October 1940 he married Dora Licht (b. Lublin, 1922). Soon afterwards Jacques received notices informing him that he could no longer practice in commerce. In July 1942 French collaborators and Germans rounded up Jews in Paris. Jacques and Dora were spared the round-up but immediately afterwards fled south settling in Roumazieres. On August 17, 1942 Jacques was arrested and sent to the work camp (GTE Groupes de travailleurs etrangers) of Egletons where he remained for a few weeks and received a salary for his work there. Soon afterwards Dora was sent to the Nexon internment camp. The couple was able to correspond. Jacques obtained false papers for himself and Dora and managed to escape the work camp with the help of a sympathetic French captain in the hope of reaching Dora in Nexon. However, when he arrived he learned that she had been already deported to Auschwitz where she perished.
Years later Shlomo learned that she was also pregnant at the time. Jacques then went to Lyon and hid for a period of time, and then from 1943-1944 lived in Nice. (He kept a Yiddish diary which the Museum has copies of.) He had false identification cards first using the name of Jacques Balzac and later Lucien Prygiel. Also he played a minor role the resistance.
The donor's mother, Miriam Einhorn (b.1913) was the daughter of Zahava (Zlata) and Yaakov Einhorn. Her father was a rabbi and mohel, and Miriam had four siblings: Mendal (b. 1910), Emmanuel (b. 1912), Charles (b. 1914) and Marcel (b. 1917). Her mother passed away in 1920. Her father remarried and had two other children Maurice and Daniel. In 1924 her father immigrated to Paris with his scond wife and children. He worked on Tibourg Street in the Jewish quarter. He made sacks and sold them in the market. Miriam became a Zionist, and she and her brother Emanuel immigrated to Palestine in 1936 against their fathers' wishes. Marcus (Marcel) Einhorn (b. 1917) became a Communist and a leader of the underground during the war. In 1943, he headed the Young Communists in Toulouse and belonged to FTO-MOI. He belonged to a faction known as the "tueurs" (killers) He was captured and sent to Dachau where he perished in 1944. Mendel (and Charles also became Communists. Mendel joined the French Foreign Legion, was captured and spent the war in a German prisoner of war camp. Charles later died in a training accident in a gym. Her father Yaakov Einhorn, half-brother Maurice, and step-mother,Frida all perished in the Holocaust.
After Miriam arrived in Palestine, she joined the Socialist Youth movement lived first in Kibbutz Habakhárout later joined Socialist youth in the Borochov neighborhood of Tel Aviv. They helped build the Jaffa port and began the Kibbutz Glil Yam near Herzilia. In 1942 Miriam volunteered for the Jewish Brigade and joined the (ATS) Auxiliary Territorial Service training for ten weeks in the Sarafand training camp for volunteers. She was sent to Egypt she served for four years. She drove trucks filled with munitions from Cairo and Ismalia toward Montgomery's army. Miriam was demobilized on February 27, 1946 and returned to live on the Kibbutz.
After the war, Miriam received a letter from Aharon Balsam, who she had known in Gorlice, telling her that he lost his wife during the war and asking her to marry him. In 1947 she returned to Paris; they wed and settled in the Jewish quarter in Paris. Shlomo was born a year later. The family was very left win and spoke Yiddish at home. Shlomo joined the Bnei Akiva youth movement after trying out Hashomer Hatzair. Shlomo immigrated to Israel in 1968 at the age of 20 and works in the field of education.
[Source: Baslam, Shlomo. "Le Baume et la Licorne: Destins de deux Familles," Elkana: Jerusalem, 2004.]l