Michael Gruenbaum was born to a Jewish family in Prague, Czechoslovakia. After Germany invaded his country in World War II, he and his family were forced into the Jewish Ghetto in Prague. In 1942, Michael, his mother and sister were deported to the Nazi concentration camp Theresienstadt, or Terezin, where he survived the war. In 1950, he emigrated to the USA. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University, served two years in the U.S. Army, and worked for the Boston Redevelopment Authority and Massachusetts Department of Public Works, before co-founding a consulting firm. He married Thelma Gruenbaum, with whom he had three sons. She researched and co-wrote Nesarim: Child Survivors of Terezin. His memoir, Somewhere There Is a Sun, was published in 2015.