"DO NOT FORGET ME" is a multi-media concert tribute to artistic creativity and survival
in Terezín, featuring
Michael Gruenbaum is a survivor and performer in the original Terezín productions of Brundibar. He is author of the acclaimed memoir of Terezin, Somewhere There is Still a Sun.
Michael was born in Prague in 1930 to a family of deeply religious Jews. In 1941, his father was arrested by the Nazis, tortured in a Prague prison, and died in Terezín’s fortress. A year later, Michael, his sister, and their mother were sent to Terezín, where they remained until the end of the war. Michael’s mother several times managed to get them excused from transports to “the east” (Auschwitz), the last time in October 1944, when the Nazis needed her to make teddy bears for their children for Christmas (see photo). Michael performed in the Terezín children’s opera, Brundibar, and he will join Ela Weissberger and the Boston Children’s Chorus at our Gala to sing the opera’s finale.
After the war, the family returned to Prague and when the Communists took over, traveled to Cuba, where Michael received his high school education. After two years, the family moved to the U.S., and Michael entered M.I.T. He served in the army during the Korean War, earned a master’s degree in city planning at Yale, and worked for the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Massachusetts Department of Public Works before forming a company with colleagues.
Michael’s wife, Thelma, wrote a book about the experiences of Michael and several of his surviving roommates titled Nesarim: Child Survivors of Terezín. In 2012, Michael established a fund at M.I.T.’s music library in memory of his parents.