Celebrate Hanukkah the All-American Way With this Menorah

This unique menorah at the American History Museum is a tribute to liberty and a poignant reminder of what we celebrate

This menorah made by Manfred Anson (1922-2012), an immigrant to the United States celebrates American and Jewish traditions. Courtesy of the National Museum of American History

The celebration of Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt, is observed with the lighting of a nine-branched candelabrum each night.  

In the collections of the National Museum of American History is a Hanukkah lamp created by Jewish immigrant Manfred Anson, who combined his pride as an American and his Jewish heritage in this uniquely designed menorah, in which each of the nine branches is mounted with brass Statue of Liberty statuettes, embodying the theme of freedom, and surmounted by an American Eagle. Significant dates in Jewish history are inscribed at the base of each statuette.

As scholar Grace Cohen Grossman writes in her 2013 article for Smithsonian.com, Anson's "lamp is a poignant reminder of what we celebate." A native of Germany, Anson arrived in the United States in 1963. His family had been held in Nazi concentration camps, while Anson had escaped at the age of 14, rescued by the Jewish Welfare Guardian Society of Australia. His brother died, but his parents and sister survived and the family was eventually reunited.

In America, Anson began to collect memorabilia such as souvenirs of the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell and the U.S. Capitol. 

In honor of his new homeland, Anson designed the Statue of Liberty Hanukkah lamp for the centennial of the statue in 1986 and donated it the Statue of Liberty National Monument. Over the years, he casted other Hanukkah lamps from the original, including this one, which he had made for his family. 

The Statue of Liberty Hanukkah Lamp is currently on view at the National Museum of American History.