Tuesday, April 9, 2018, 5:00-6:30 PM
Physics 114, Purdue University

Frank Grunwald

The Vast Landscape of the Holocaust

Frank Grunwald

2019 Rabbi Gedalyah Engel Lecturer
Survivor and Instructor, Industrial Design, Purdue College of Liberal Arts


Frank Misa (Michael) Grunwald was six years old when German troops entered Czechoslovakia in March of 1939. In the summer of 1942 he and his family were deported to the Terezin ghetto and in December of 1943 to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Here, eleven-year-old Frank and his older brother John were entertaining themselves by singing and humming some of the 1920's and 1930's American jazz standards such as Stormy Weather and other melodies from American musicals.

He miraculously escaped the gas chamber in July of 1944 and survived four other concentration camps prior to his liberation by the American Army at Mauthausen on May 5, 1945.

After his escape from Communist Czechoslovakia in 1949 he spent two years in England and immigrated to the United States in 1951.

Frank received his degree in Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute in 1956 and worked for a number of large corporations in product design and new product development for forty-five years. He retired from the corporate arena in 2002 and has served as a visiting lecturer on new product design and innovative thinking methodologies at Purdue University.

Frank's hobbies are art and music. Following World War 2 he took up playing the piano accordion, which he has played since a teen ager. American jazz classics are still part of his favorite repertoire.

Frank and his wife Barbara live in Indianapolis. They have two married sons and five grandchildren.

Faculty Website
Soundcloud: 93 WIBC intreview with Terri Stacy
IndyStary: 'Into eternity' - The amazing story of a letter written by Frank's mom right before her death
YouTube: A few moments of Frank Gunwald playing the accordian.

Photo credit: Emily Hodson