Gunzburg, Niko

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GUNZBURG, NIKO (1882–1984), Belgian jurist and criminologist. Born in Riga, Latvia, his family settled in Belgium when he was a boy. In 1923 he was appointed lecturer in law at the University of Ghent where he later became the first Jew to be made a professor. He founded its Institute of Criminology in 1937 and headed it until 1952 except during World War ii when he was attached to the Belgian embassy in Washington. From 1953 to 1956, he was professor of law at the University of Djakarta, Indonesia. His works on penal law and criminology earned him an international reputation. They include Les transformations récentes du droit pénal (1933) and La trajectoire du crime; études sur le nouveau code Pénal du Brésil (1941). A prominent figure in the Belgian Jewish community, Gunzburg was founder and president of the Central Committee for Jewish Welfare in Antwerp. He participated in the inaugural conference of the World Jewish Congress in 1936 and was chairman of the Council of Jewish Associations (1947–50). Gunzburg was also a passionate advocate of the use of the Flemish language and he was head of the society of Flemish Jurists.

[Zvi Hermon]