Michael Gruenbaum was born in 1930 in Prague. In 1942, he was sent to Theresienstadt with his mother and sister and remained there until the end of the war. He emigrated to the United States in 1950, graduated from MIT and Yale, served two years in the Army, and worked for the Boston Redevelopment Authority and Mass. Dept. of Public Works before cofounding a consulting firm. He was married for fifty years to the late author Thelma Gruenbaum; he has three sons and four grandchildren.