Balsam was born in Gorlice, Poland in 1929. Balsam’s parents were Moses and Adela, who had four other children; Danny (b. 1923), Gitel (b. 1925), Sanek (b. 1927) and Joseph (b. 1930). Balsam’s father was a miller by trade. Moses was very orthodox and was the warden of the synagogue.