Brothers Samuel and Maurice Gintzburger were both outstanding leaders of the West End Jewish community during the first quarter of the 20th century. Born in Neuchatel, Switzerland to an Alsatian watchmaker, they arrived in Vancouver in 1887 at the age of 20 and soon bought a large tract of 160 acres in what is now North Vancouver. When the orchard of 300 fruit trees that they had planted there failed to support them, they sought other ways of making a living. Maurice found a job with the Oppenheimer wholesale grocers, where he worked for eight years. Samuel, meanwhile, set out on a string of adventures, some more profitable than others. These included: seal hunting, prospecting, mining, and insurance. These pursuits took him to all ends of the province, from the Bering Sea to the Kootenay. As the Jewish Western Bulletin commented in 1958, “He engaged in everything from land sales in North Vancouver to seal hunting in the north Pacific with silver and gold mining thrown in for good measure.”
In 1895, Samuel married Rosina Robinson, a charter member of Vancouver Council of Jewish Women and lifetime president of the Ladies Auxiliary of Temple Emanu-El. Three years later, in 1898, Rosina’s sister, Henrietta married her brother-in-law, Maurice. Their only daughter, Pauline, was the first Jewish woman to graduate from UBC.
Samuel contributed in many ways to the local Jewish community. He served as long-time president of the young Reform Congregation, Emanu-El, was a charter member of B’nai Brith and the Zionist Society, and co-founded the Vancouver Hebrew Free Loan Association with Solomon Weaver (also buried in Mountain View Cemetery, a few paces away from the Ginzburger plot) and Jacob Fleishman.
Samuel also contributed in many ways to the broader community, acting as Municipal council of West Vancouver and Consul-General of Switzerland for BC and Alberta. In this role, he oversaw German-owned properties interned during the First World War.
Maurice died on November 3, 1922 at age 55. Samuel, in ill health for some time, died on January 23, 1927 at age 59. [The math suggests that Samuel and Maurice may have been twins, but we currently have insufficient information to verify this].