Jacob was born to a Jewish family in the Baltic seaport of Liepaja. He owned a clothing store in the city, and also owned some apartments, from which he collected rent. After his wife died, Jacob, who had retired, moved in with his daughter Sarah.
1933-39: Jacob was an avid reader. His favorite newspaper was Liepaja's German language daily, the Libauer Zeitung, which he liked to read in the garden and orchard around his daughter's home. On Sundays, "Grampa" would take his granddaughters Fanny and Jenny and other children from the neighborhood to the harbor. He would treat them to caramel candies, and they would sit and watch the ships.
1940-41: In June 1940 the Soviet Union occupied Latvia. A year later, Germany invaded Latvia and reached Liepaja in one week. The Nazis immediately began rounding up Jewish males, ostensibly for conscript labor details. None of the men ever returned. The roundups abated for a few months until the night of December 15, when Latvian police began rousting Jews from their homes and taking them to prison. Those with work permits were released, but the rest were taken north to the village of Skeden.
Jacob Gamper was among approximately 2,800 Jews massacred by Latvian and German gunmen in Skeden between December 15 and 17, 1941.