Henryk Grynberg was born to a Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland. As a child during World War II, he survived the Nazi Occupation in hiding with the help of Polish Catholic families and forged papers. After the war, he graduated from Warsaw University with a master's degree in journalism and became an actor with the Jewish State Theater. About this time, he began to publish poetry and prose and poetry, mostly focused on the Holocaust. In 1967, while on a theater tour in the USA, he defected to escape Communist Poland's anti-Semitic campaigns and censorship of his writing. In 1971, he earned a master's degree in Russian literature from UCLA. He moved to the Washington, D.C. area and worked for the U.S. Information Agency for nearly 20 years. In the early 1990s, he returned to Poland with documentary filmmaker Paweł Łoziński as he interviewed people in his native village in search of the fate of his father Abram Grynberg during the war. The documentary was released in 1992 under the name "Miejsce urodzenia" (Birthplace). Grynberg has contributed stories and essays to the Polish press and English-language publications such as Commentary. He is the author of 20 books, including novels such as Child of the Shadows (1969), later re-issued as The Jewish War (1993) and its sequel The Victory; and nonfiction such as Children of Zion (1997) and Drohobycz, Drohobycz and Other Stories (2002).