For the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, the irony of Dan Grunfeld’s first contract offer to play professional basketball was a bit on-the-nose. It was not just that it came from Germany. The team that wanted him was from Oldenburg — the first state to put the Nazi party in power.
Grunfeld’s new book, By the Grace of the Game: The Holocaust, a Basketball Legacy, and an Unprecedented American Dream, is about these full-circle moments. Alternating among the stories of his grandmother, now 96, who hid in a Budapest attic as Nazi soldiers executed thousands of Jews outside; of her son, Ernie Grunfeld, a Romanian immigrant who became an NBA ‘lifer’; and his own, Grunfeld tells a powerful tale of Jewish American redemption through basketball.