I often asked my father how he survived fourteen concentration camps, including Dachau. His reply was always the same: “I could do anything with my hands. I built Nazi aeroplane parts … I painted portraits of the Nazis. And there was miracle, after miracle, after miracle.”
So much of the memory, the mind, the senses, and the soul are in the hand. It is through these entities that the artist is guided by the teacher — whether or not the teacher shares the same artform, and long after the “lesson” has ceased. Among the things that have inspired me the most deeply, in my music and my life, are the things I learned from my father, Binem Grunstein. (He was also fondly known as Bolek or Bolciu).
Binem Grunstein, c.1948. Photo: courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Australia
Binem (Bill) Grunstein (1921-2013), garment manufacturer and artist, escaped the Warsaw Ghetto in 1941. Here is the link to his brief biography at the National Portrait Gallery, Australia, where his photographic portrait is held in the permanent collection: