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Brass Hanukiah carried by a German Jewish family who immigrated to Ecuador

Object | Accession Number: 2016.461.2 a-b

Hanukiah that belonged to Ruth Spier’s husband Alfred and was carried by his family when they emigrated from Germany in March 1939, to escape persecution. The Hanukiah is lit during the festival of Hanukkah. It has eight candles in line with each other with a ninth candle at a different height that is lit first and then used to light the others. Ruth and her husband Alfred lived in Hannover, Germany, where he taught at a Jewish school. Alfred unexpectedly died of a fever in 1937, leaving behind two young daughters, Elizabeth and Hannah, and Ruth a widow. As part of Kristallnacht, on November 10, 1938, Ruth’s father and brother were arrested by the Gestapo and transported to Buchenwald concentration camp. They were released 6 weeks later. With the increasing violence, Ruth and her brother decided it would be best to leave Germany. In March 1939, they secured passage for their families to Ecuador. By this time, anti-Semitic legislation required Jews to relinquish their valuables to the state. Ruth defied this decree and risked her life by sewing her remaining valuables into the lining of the clothing and linens she was permitted to take with her to Ecuador. Ruth and her daughters spent 1 year in Ecuador and then immigrated to the United States in May 1940, where they settled in New York.

acquired:  1937
acquired: Wolfenbüttel (Germany)
Jewish Art and Symbolism
Object Type
Hanukkah lamp (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Walter and Hannah Hess
Record last modified: 2022-04-28 15:34:15
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