The Gunzburg family. Horace Gunzburg
The second of Evzel Gunzburg's three sons - Herz or, in Russian, Horace - succeeded his father not only as a businessman but also as a Jewish leader. He headed the Banking House "I.E. Gunzburg" and set up a number of other enterprises, including sugar refineries in the Podolia District, gold-mines, a chain shipping company on the river Sheksna, and a joint stock company "Platina". Horace Gunzburg was a member of the Stock Exchange Board, and a city councilor (until 1892). He headed the Jewish community of St. Petersburg and the Society for the Spread of Education among Jews in Russia (OPE) for 40 years.
Horace Gunzburg acted as the consul of the Dukedom of Hessen-Darmstadt in St. Petersburg for 4 years without pay and in appreciation for his valuable services the Duke of Hessen-Darmstadt conferred upon him and his issue the hereditary title of Baron. This title was soon also conferred upon his father Evzel. Alexander II granted the Gunzburgs the right to use this title in Russia.
However, in 1902 Horace Gunzburg's application for ennoblement in Russia was turned down despite his eligibility given the ranks and orders he had been awarded for his charities. Nevertheless, Hessen-Darmstadt barons Gunzburg remained hereditary honorary citizens of Russia.
Like his father, Horace Gunzburg often petitioned the government authorities for Jews. He also participated in various governmental commissions. Under Alexander II his activities were sometimes successful, but during the next reign the situation changed. Although Gunzburg was permitted to convene Jewish representatives in order to petition for Jews, Interior Minister count Ignatyev replied: "The western border is open for Jews. They have enough rights and nobody will prevent them from leaving the country". Horace Gunzburg guided the preparation of materials and proposals on the "Jewish question" for the Palen commission for 5 years, but the commission did not produce any results.
For his charity Horace Gunzburg was decorated with several Russian orders and medals. Together with Prince Oldenburgsky he was a founder of the St. Petersburg Archeological Institute, Institute of Experimental Medicine, a trustee and a member of the board of a number of orphanages, almshouses, and hospitals, and a member of the city Duma's charity commission. He strictly adhered to the Talmudic behest to give charity not only to Jews but also to the whole population of the country in which a Jewish community lives.
But most of all Horace Gunzburg was known as a founder and member of Jewish charities, in which activity he was supported by his family. Mentioned in the lists of contributors to various communal needs are not only Evzel and then Horace Gunzburg, but also Horace's wife Anna, his sons and daughters-in-law. A number of various Jewish organizations headed by members of the family operated in different periods of time in the house of the large Gunzburg family. Horace Gunzburg said in his testament that during his lifetime he had made large donations to charities and therefore he would not will money specifically for these purposes, hoping that his children would follow the traditions of the family and the whole Jewish people and pursue the cause of charity. These words proved to be prophetic: Gunzburg's descendants have taken an active part in charities up to the present.