Anna Balaban, age 82, passed away on March 5 at her home in Fair Haven after suf fering from a long illness.
Anna, a Holocaust survivor, was born in Slomniki, Poland on July 10, 1935, and was the youngest of Esther and Jonah Blatt’s four children. Anna and her family were sent to the Krakow Ghetto where Anna and her mother were able to escape and survived the war in hiding, while the rest of the family were all murdered in Auschwitz. After liberation, Anna and her mother returned to Slomniki, but found themselves unwelcome and unsafe. Anna and her mother were quartered for several years in the Bindermichl Displaced Persons camp in Linz, Austria before being permitted to immigrate to Israel.
They made a home in Tel Aviv, where Anna became one of the first stewardesses for the Israeli airline El Al. She credited her bridge-playing skills and her fluency in many languages for El Al’s willingness to overlook her diminutive stature when they hired her.
It was on a layover in New York that she met her husband of 49 years, Philip, who passed away in 2011. Anna and her husband settled in Fair Haven in 1967 where she worked as a Hebrew teacher and a travel agent, as well as being active in Congregation B’nai Israel.
She is survived by her daughter, Nona Balaban and her husband, Dennis Drazin of Fair Haven, and by her son, Victor Balaban, and his wife, Jamie Weisman of Atlanta; her four granddaughters, Ariel, Liana, Isabelle and Shira; and her nieces Hadassa Yardeni and Ayala Keren, of Tel Aviv, Israel, and their children and grandchildren.
Services were held at Congregation B’nai Israel on March 9 under the direction of Bloomfield-Cooper Jewish Chapels, Ocean. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, at yadvashem.org or to Congregation B’nai Israel of Rumson.
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