The author was born in Poland. Dr. Balbin and his father spent the war years in the Jewish Ghetto of Cracow, and subsequently in four Nazi concentration camps. His mother died in the gas chamber. Liberated by American troops in 1945, he was hospitalized for a year and a half, then reunited with his father. He received his PhD in 1950, and before his retirement, worked as a translator, researcher, and professor of foreign languages.