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Tsiyon [Zion] shaped stone Shabbat candleholder and base carved in a Cyprus detention camp

Object | Accession Number: 2006.478.1 a-b

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    Tsiyon [Zion] shaped stone Shabbat candleholder and base carved in a Cyprus detention camp


    Brief Narrative
    Shabbat candleholder crafted by Maurice Grauer while at a British detention camp in Cyprus from 1947 to 1948. It was carved from a floor tile using a sardine can as a carving tool. Grauer and his wife, Natalia, were on the ship, Ben Hecht, en route to Palestine when it was stopped by the British authorities. All the passengers, many of them, like the Grauers, Holocaust survivors, were detained in Cyprus. Palestine was under British control and the immigration policy was very restrictive. The Grauer's first child, Sophie, was born in the camp in 1948. Early that year, the British began to withdraw their military forces from Palestine. On May 11, 1948, the state of Israel was established. The Grauers and the other detainees were welcomed into the Jewish homeland. Grauer was 19-years-old when the Germans invaded Poland in 1939. He fled Krakow for Soviet territory and was jailed in Siberia until the Germans declared war on the Soviets. Polish prisoners were set free and Grauer joined the Polish Army for the duration of the war, and stayed enlisted for another year and a half. He then made his way to the Eggenfelden displaced persons camp where he met his wife.
    creation:  1948
    creation: British detention camp; Cyprus
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Marlene Zycter
    Subject: Maurice Grauer
    Maurycy Grauer (1920-2003) was born in Krakow, Poland. He grew up in the Jewish neighborhood and attended public school. He had six brothers. Maurycy helped his father in his work as a house painter. After the German invasion in September 1939, Maurycy fled Krakow with his cousin and their two children. He was held by the Soviets for two days at the border between the German and the Soviet-occupied sections of Poland, but then was permitted to continue to L’viv. He eventually ended up in Chakalov in the Soviet Union, where he and some friends did business with the black market. Maurycy was arrested by Soviet Army police, jailed for a year and a half, then sent to a Siberian labor camp for a 10-year sentence. He worked painting and laying bricks, and was allowed to sign in and out of camp each day for work. When Germany declared war on the Soviet Union in spring 1941, Polish citizens were set free in order to help fight the Germans. Maurycy returned to Poland and joined the Polish Army in exile, serving in Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. After the war, he returned to Poland and was in the Army for another year and a half. Both of his parents and all six brothers perished during the war.

    At that point, Maurycy left Poland for the Eggenfelden displaced persons camp in Germany where he met Natalia Rosenwald. She was born on February 16, 1929, in Krakow and had survived Mauthausen and Ravensbrück concentration camps. They married on February 18, 1947. Maurycy discovered that his sisters were in Palestine, and the couple decided to join them. In summer 1947, they embarked on the Aliya Bet ship, Ben Hecht. While en route to Palestine, the ship was stopped by the British Authorities, who controlled the nation at that time. All the passengers were detained at a camp in Cyprus. While there, Natalie gave birth to their first child in 1948. After the establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, the internees were welcomed into the Jewish homeland. Maurycy served in the Israeli Army. In 1950, the couple had their second of four children. In 1952, the family returned to Munich, Germany, because they were dissatisfied with their life in Israel. They applied for visas to the United States, Australia, and Brazil. Australia was the first to grant them permits, so they moved to Sydney in 1955. Eventually, they were able to join Natalia’s sisters and family in the United States. The family immigrated to New Jersey in 1962. Maurycy, who Anglicized his name to Maurice, passed away in 2003, in Florida.

    Physical Details

    Jewish Art and Symbolism
    Object Type
    Candelabra (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Stone candle holder in the shape of the Hebrew word Tsiyon [Zion]. The upper end of the two arms are decorated with grape bunches and leaves, with holes for candles. On the front, the letter shape has been carved to leave a raised edge at the border; there are several Hebrew letters. In the bottom right corner are two bunches of grapes with vines forming a medallion. A fortress is carved within the medallion. There are three vertical pieces that extend from the letter, between the left arm and the bottom of the letter. The back also has a raised edge with Hebrew letters. Carved at the bottom is a building flanked by two palm trees. There are two holes in the base of the candelabrum to attach it to the base.
    b. Two-tiered, rectangular platform with two wooden pegs protruding from the top. There is Hebrew text on the front of the rectangle. A flat rectangle extends from the platform in the front. The rectangle is carved with a raised edge at the border. Hebrew letters are at the center, left, and right. Grape bunches and vines form a medallion in the center. At the top of the medallion are two tablets, within the medallion are five people prostrating themselves before a stone wall. To the left of the wall is a domed building.
    a: Height: 5.750 inches (14.605 cm) | Width: 5.000 inches (12.7 cm) | Depth: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm)
    b: Height: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm) | Width: 6.000 inches (15.24 cm) | Depth: 5.380 inches (13.665 cm)
    a : stone, adhesive
    b : stone, wood
    a. carved in front : Shabat Kodesh [Holy Sabbath]
    b. carved in center back, near section joint : Hebrew text of the Blessing of the candles [transliteration: Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh / ha’olam asher kidshanu be-mitzvotav / ve-tsivanu le-hadlik ner shel Shabat [Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign / of the universe Who has sanctified us with His commandments / and commanded us to light the lights of Shabbat.
    b. carved in lower section on back, top left corner : KAFRISIN [CYPRUS] / 1/I 1948

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The candleholder was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2006 by Marlene Zytcer, the daughter of Maurice and Natalia Grauer.
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-01 09:20:41
    This page:

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