Günzburg (surname)

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Günzburg is a surname of Bavarian origin.

History of the name[edit]

The Günzburg (Russian: Гинзбург, Гинцбург, Yiddish: גינצבורג, גינזבורג, Ginzburg, Gintsburg) family originated in the town of Günzburg, Bavaria. It is believed that the family went there from the city of Ulm, Württemberg, and that for this reason the best-known progenitor of the family and some of his immediate descendants, as well as certain others, called themselves "Ulma-Günzburg". ("Rabbi Jair Chajim Bacharach und Seine Ahnen", p. 45, Treves, 1894) proves that "Gunz" and "Gaunz" are simply variants of "Günzburg."

It is also an Ashkenazi Jewish surname. When, early in the emancipation period, the Jews of Russia and of Austria were ordered by their governments to adopt family names, it was natural that many of them should choose a name so respected and pleasing as that of Günzburg. There is on record a lawsuit instituted by Baer Günzburg of Grodno against a Jewish family of that city who had adopted the same name under the decree of 1804 (Maggid, "Toledot Mishpechoth Gintzburg," p. 239, St. Petersburg, 1899). The court sustained the right of Jewish families to adopt any name they chose, and the number of Günzburg families accordingly increased.

The name is composed of two German elements. Burg means a castle on a hill or a citadel. This commonly was used to describe a settlement or town, hence common usage in town names such as Hamburg (home town). Developments of the word include burger (town dweller) or burgermeister (town master or mayor). Gins is a corruption of koening, a common transposition or spoonerism. Koening means king so Ginsburg means king's castle, or commonly kingstown (Kingston). Ginsberg would mean king's hill (berg meaning hill). Günzburg refers to the castle overlooking the river Günz.

People named Gunzburg or variant spellings[edit]


  • Eisenstadt-Wiener, Da‘at (Czech: Qedošim), pp. 198–212, St. Petersburg, 1897–98;
  • Belinsohn, Shillume Emune Yisrael, Odessa, 1898;
  • Belinsohn, Ein Wort über die Familie Guenzburg, St. Petersburg, 1858. The chief source is Maggid's work, quoted above.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Günzburg". Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901–1906. 

See also[edit]