By Jason Stverak, Originally posted in The Jewish Press
You won’t find the name Haym Salomon in text books in your local elementary school. U.S. History classes at the finest universities rarely utter his name. But without the dedication of this Polish Jewish immigrant to the American Revolution, the Fourth of July would not be celebrated as Independence Day.
Born in Lesno, Poland in 1740, his parents were refugees, who escaped religious persecution in Portugal. As a young man he traveled extensively throughout Europe learning numerous languages and developing an extensive knowledge of currency and finance.
Through his family and personal experiences, Salomon understood the injustice of life under an oppressive government. He became acquainted with the American colonial struggle against taxation without representation when he came to New York in 1772.
Salomon started a brokerage company that would become very successful and bring him prominent clients loyal to the King of England. However when news surfaced regarding the fighting in Lexington and Concord, his own loyalty was with the colonists’ struggle. He would take up the cause of freedom, joining New York’s revolutionary Sons of Liberty.