David Ginsburg: Made history in the 20th century


Alexandrias David Ginsburg, a Renaissance man with more than seven decades of an intellectually stimulating legal and public service career, where he observed and actively played a role in history, died at his home at the age of 98 on May 23 of congestive heart failure. He made contributions to the United States on a level that cannot be replicated.

Born in New York City on April 20, 1912, he graduatated from West Virginia University and Harvard Law School. After graduating from Harvard in 1935, he headed to Washington for what he thought would be one year at the newly created Securities and Exchange Commission. Since then he has been a law clerk for former Supreme Court Justice Wlliam O. Douglass, was part of the D-Day plus seven invasion in World War II and and negotiated with the Russians.

Ginsburg worked as an assistant to Gen. Lucius Clay, Gen. Dwight Eisenhowers deputy, attended the Potsdam Conference where he witnessed history as President Harry Truman, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met to strategize the administration of post-war Germany and Germanys allies.  A few months later, Ginsburg was an observer at another notable historical event, the Nuremberg Trials of 22 war criminals.  

In 1946, Ginsburg returned to the United States and established his own private law practice. He had stints with the federal government, including the Kerner Commission, and Harvard for another 61 years, until he retired in 2007. 

The Kerner Commission was tasked with determining what caused strained race relations to develop into summer riots in the mid-1960s. Unfortunately, President Johnson did not fully accept the commissions findings that poverty, slums and lack of jobs, training and racial integration were all major factors. Through out his life Ginsburg was passionate about ending poverty.

Ginsburg loved living in Alexandria, enjoyed walking on the bike path with his wife Marianne and delighted in preserving and improving Supreme Justice Hugo Blacks rose garden. The chance to hear first hand from Ginsburg about how 20th century history is no longer possible, but his daughter, Susan, his sons, Mark and Jonathan, and his wife Marianne, will keep the appreciation for Alexandria, the United States, helping the poor and his quiet drive for excellence alive.