Photo taken in:PragueCountry name at time of photo:Austria-Hungary, pre 1918Country name today:Czech Republic
This is an ex libris used my grandfather Josef Ginz. An ex libris is an artistically rendered label with the symbol or name of the book's owner, glued or drawn on the inside front cover of books. In the upper portion there are three symbols beside each other - Judaism, an owl as a symbol of wisdom, and the Czech lion. My grandfather on my father's side was named Josef Gunz, and was born in 1857 in Barchovice. According to his birth certificate, he was circumcised at birth. His father was named Filip Gunz and was a merchant, his mother was Estera, nee Pickova, and came from Lesna. Later, grandpa 'Czechified' his name, and changed the 'u' with an umlaut to an 'i'. So my father's last name was already Ginz. Grandma was named Berta, nee Stastna. She was born in 1866 in central Bohemia. From my grandfather's birth certificate, it's obvious that my grandparents and their parents were merchants. I don't know how religious they were, and how much they observed Jewish customs, but I imagine that Jews in those days were all very religious. My grandparents lived in Zdanice, near Prague. In the beginning my grandpa was a teacher, but then, I don't know at what point in his life, he began to deal in antiques. He opened an antique store, at first in Kostelec nad Cernymi Lesy, and then he moved with his family to Prague, and opened an antique store on Jungmannovo Namesti in Prague. According to various letters, notes, pictures and what I had heard from my father, my grandfather was a very educated person, though I don't know where he came by his education; most likely he was self-taught. Grandpa also knew many languages and was very intelligent and had a talent for art. I have several pictures that he himself painted and that look like they were done by a professional artist. He also wrote poetry, and I have part of his business correspondence written in verse in German and also in Czech. Besides artistic talents, my grandfather also showed a talent for business. When he died in the year 1912, at a relatively young age, he left behind an extensive collection of antiques and an estate large enough to enable his wife and five children to lead a comfortable life. This could have lasted up to her death, but unfortunately the Nazi regime severed this beautiful family. My grandfather's store on Jungmannovo Namesti was in those days a well-known place in Prague where Czech and German artists and poets would meet. They would mainly pick through rare books that my grandfather was an expert in. A large part of his antique collection was made up of rare old books. While he was still alive, my grandfather was a big proponent of Czech culture and associated with the Czech intellectual elite. He's buried in the Jewish cemetery in Prague at Olsany and has a Czech inscription on his tombstone.