Artifact of the month for November and December
Abraham Schwartzmann (1852 – 1937)
Kislev is an autumn month on the Hebrew calendar, which occurs in November–December. It is the time of year when Jews all over the world celebrate Hanukkah. On the first night of Hanukkah, the Shamash is lit, which is the candle used to light all the others, as well as one of the other eight candles. Every subsequent night another candle is lit, until, on the eighth and final night of Hanukkah all the branches of the Hanukkiya are lit. The candles commemorate the original Hanukkah miracle of one container of oil burning for eight days in the time of the Maccabees.
This particular Hanukkiya belonged to Abraham Schwartzmann (b. in Neustadt, Lithuania) who came to Norway in the 1890s. Like many other Jewish immigrants to Norway, the Schwartzmann family first spent some time in Sweden. Seven out of nine children was born there. In Norway, Abraham settled as a wool merchant, and was soon to prosper as a successful businessman. The Schwartzmann family lived for many years in Calmeyers gate 17, the Museum’s neighboring building. Abraham Schwartzmann and his wife Marie both died in Oslo in 1937. Their eldest child Ester moved to Belgium in 1920 and was deported to Germany in 1941 along with her family. The rest of the Schwartzmann family managed to escape to Sweden and thus survived the war.
The Chanukiah is a gift to the Oslo Jewish Museum from Gerd Kirschner, Abraham’s granddaughter.