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Old 02-19-2013, 12:13 AM
Location: Filipinas
1,761 posts, read 6,963,772 times
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I actually don't know about this story, just today. I knew about Philippines helped some Vietnamese and Russian refugees.

Documentary chronicles how the Philippines rescued 1,300 Jews from the Holocaust

By CARMELA G. LAPEÑA, GMA NewsFebruary 18, 2013 11:50pm

As a little girl during the Holocaust, Lotte Hershfield could not quite understand what it was all about.

At five years old, she would see benches that would say "Dogs and Jews not allowed." She remembered being terribly frightened by the Nazis' big police dog when they came to their house and took their Jewish books away. She recalled her mother crying bitterly, telling her that her father was away on a business trip, not divulging that he had been arrested at the Breslau town hall.

In contrast, she was excited as they fled Germany on board a ship. "It was sort of an adventure and I felt somewhat secure. I had my brother there and I had my parents there. I knew I was going to to a new country, it was somewhat exciting," said Hershfield, who was among over a thousand Jews who came to the Philippines.

"You saw how the doors were basically closed to all of us except the Philippines, and how the Filipino people are a very warm people, they're a very friendly people," Hershfield said in "An Open Door", a documentary about the Jewish rescue in the Philippines. The documentary is the third film in his World War II trilogy "Forgotten Stories."

For almost nine years, she stayed in the Philippines, which she remembered fondly. "I was very impressed because we road up Dewey Boulevard into Pasay. Lovely beaches, beautiful banana trees, and there were polo grounds I remember... We learned Filipino songs and there were quite a few performances. Art was very important," she said.

By the time the war was over, the Philippines had become her home. "I really did not want to leave. That was my home, that was all that I knew. I was there from the time I was seven," she said.

Unknown to many, the Philippines provided refuge for 1,300 Jews that fled Germany after the Nazi regime passed the Nuremberg Laws. "With the implementation of the Nuremberg Laws and the depriving of German Jews of their German citizenship, this enabled the government to confiscate businesses, confiscate homes, to appropriate all their assets," Holocaust historian Bonnie Harris explained in the documentary.

Filmmaker Noel M. Izon noted that after Jews were declared stateless by the Nazi regime, 47 nations convened in France in 1938 to deal with Jewish refugees, but not one nation during that conference changed their immigration laws to make them more accomodating of Jews. "They all washed their hands and said there was nothing they could do," Izon said in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio host Jean Feraca on "Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders."

"The Philippines was not represented. But the Philippines, because it was a Commonwealth, had served a quasi-autonomous status. And they were able to interpret some of the immigration laws especially with the power given to the Philippine President, he was actually allowed to issue visas directly," he explained.,

The Nuremberg Laws were issued in 1935, the same year that the Philippines was inaugurated as a Commonwealth. Most of the Jewish rescue in the Philippines happened between 1935 and 1941, according to Izon.

Sharon Delmendo, author and Commonwealth historian, explained that Quezon, although Catholic, developed an affinity for Jews because he felt that there was a sort of symbolic brotherhood between Filipinos and Jews.

"The Filipinos were the recipients of racial discrimination and bigotry on the part of many Americans, at that time that the Jews were similarly recipients of bigotry by the Nazis. So even though Quezon had extremely important and critical political and economic issues to wrestle with at this time, he was willing to take a stand to help the Jews," said Delmendo, who co-produced the documentary.

Izon noted that Quezon ran for the Commonwealth presidency on a platform of opening up the Philippines to the world.

According to Izon, "When President Quezon initially heard of the Jewish plight in Europe, he had said he was willing to actually reserve visas for up to a million or more and that whatever land was needed he would make sure that the leases were turned over to the Jewish settlers."

"Having grown up quite a bit of my life in the Philippines, there truly is a genuine sense of hospitality. It's in the DNA. People are friendly, they want to welcome you, they want to make you feel at home. You could go to the poorest house and they could just be having canned goods or whatever but they'd always invite you to eat with them," Izon said.

However, the US State Department was not very comfortable with such large numbers, as they were concerned the Jews might use the Philippines as a back door to the US. They were also concerned that the experiment would fail. So they decided to limit the number of visas, and truth be told, there was quite a bit of anti-Semitism within the American government at that time.

“They were not really all that interested in any kind of experiment that involved saving Jews," Izon said.

He noted that Quezon may also have had some pragmatic reason in mind when he let the Jewish refugees in. That they were a new talent pool, in terms of what possible contributions they could make to the country and the economy, was not lost on the Philippine government. "I don't think that one can be totally altruistic with these things... but at the end of the day he risked a lot of political capital... In fact there were some anti-Semitic factors in the Philippine legislature and he publicly rebuked them," Izon said.

Quezon may not have been able to save millions, but the the rescue's impact goes on for generations.

"Roosevelt and Churchill saved Western civilization but President Quezon, and so few people know that, of the Philippines, saved 1,200 Jewish souls. As many as Schindler and maybe even more. And that is the epitome basically of Judaism. It says if you save one soul you save mankind," Hershfield said.

For more information, visit the website http://www.anopendoormovie.com/. — DVM/KG, GMA News

An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines (Extended Trailer) - YouTube
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:26 AM
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This is very nice. There was a Japanese as well a Chinese consul who helped Jewish refugees during WWII (and this too is not well known).
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:58 AM
634 posts, read 603,994 times
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Wow never knew this! And I'm Filipino! This was not even mentioned in any of my history class from elementary to college! I wonder why?

What was mentioned was that there are many Filipino inventors that was duped by foreigners buying or tricking them to sell the rights to them so the foreigner can claim the invention as their own.

I remember ink was invented by a Filipino. This ink:

My prof said whoever owns this now bought the rights from the Filipino inventor and claimed it his own. There you go!


I remember ya the name was derived from the Filipino chemist!!

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Old 02-21-2013, 02:01 PM
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How'd we get from a documentary to ink? LOL.

The holocaust museum in Washington, DC had displays on the 'righteous' such as the Chinese consul-general, but not on mention of Quezon.

Last edited by minibrings; 02-21-2013 at 02:15 PM..
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:48 PM
Location: Somewhere flat in Mississippi
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Here are some links:

History of the Jews in the Philippines - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kasaysayan ng mga Hudyo sa Pilipinas - Wikipedia, ang malayang ensiklopedya

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Old 02-21-2013, 07:06 PM
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The first one is the most related to this thread.

The second one is in Tagalog.. wish I understood it, but its a translation of first link

Third link has a tab called Media Gallery, there's an interesting youtube link on jews in MNL during the 30s/40s. The syngogue on the website looks much newer than the one I remember being taken to as a kid by my Mom's best friend.
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:25 AM
Location: Filipinas
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They will show this film in American Television this coming April 2013. I read that a lot are not even aware of this story. I guess the lesson from this story for me is that we should show more compassion and love to humans than looking at them based from their race or religion. It's an inspiring story actually and I would like to see the whole film.

Rescue In The Philippines -- First Look - YouTube

Quezon tried to expand the visas to 10,000 but it didn't push through due to WWII but at least a thousand were saved.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:04 AM
Location: Filipinas
1,761 posts, read 6,963,772 times
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Originally Posted by minibrings View Post
How'd we get from a documentary to ink? LOL.

The holocaust museum in Washington, DC had displays on the 'righteous' such as the Chinese consul-general, but not on mention of Quezon.
Actually, this story started when one of the survivors wrote a book entitled Escape in Manila
last 2005. There is also a monument dedicate to the Philippines and Filipinos in Tel-Aviv
regarding this rescue last 2007.

Open Doors: A monument to the Filipino heart
editor Tuesday 18 December 2012

By Auggie Moore.. Throughout World War II, thousands of Jews fled from Europe, trying to escape the Nazi onslaught and their murderous designs upon any Jews that fell under their dominion. Finding a place of sanctuary was not easy, and even if you did obtain the necessary papers allowing you to enter this place of refuge, you still need to obtain exit visas from your current place of residence, obtaining financing for your trip, and figure out a way of getting to where you were going – something that was easier said than done, especially during a time of war. One of the varied places that Jews found a place of refuge was the Philippines. However, in some regards, this place of refuge turned out to be akin to jumping out of the frying pan into the fire! This is because when most of the Jewish refugees from Europe found their way to the Phillippines, it was an American commonwealth. As the winds of war changed, the Philippines were occupied by the Japanese, an occupation that resulted in the murder of countless civilians, including dozens of the Jewish refugees.

Escape to Manila: From Nazi Tyranny to Japanese Terror, was written by Frank Ephraim, and although it can be classified as a biography, it is more of a general history of the Jewish refugee experience in the Philippines during World War II. This is because rather than simply telling his own story, Ephraim has interwoven the stories of thirty-six other Jewish refugees into his account. He has also incorporated information garnered from a host of other sources such as government archives and newspaper reports. Building upon this information, Ephraim not only recounts what life was like for the Jewish refugees in the Philippines, and the political machinations that went into deciding which Jews would be allowed into the Islands and where they could settle, but he also details how these Jews came to learn of the possibility of finding sanctuary in the Philippines, the various methods by which they traveled there, and the dangers they faced along the way. The end result is a comprehensive, and riveting account, of a practically unknown aspect of Holocaust history.

Born in Berlin, Ephraim and his parents fled to the Philippines in 1939. At the time he was only eight years old, and was destined to grow up in what was to him a strange and exotic land. His memories of his life in Manila are crisp and vivid, and the experiences of his own family mirror that of many of the refugees that made to their way to the Philippines. Ephraim also explores how the refugees were integrated into the preexisting, though small, Jewish community in the Philippines and the generally, positive reception that the refugees received from the Filipino people.

Escape to Manila not only recounts how thousands of came to find sanctuary in the Philippines and what their lives were like there, but it also follows the story throughout the war. This includes describing how life changed once the Japanese invaded the Philippines, the ofttimes barbaric events that occurred during the occupation, and the very real danger that everyone on the Islands faced during the numerous battles and actions that were fought as the Americans fought to retake the Philippines. The Battle of Manila was to play a significant role in the experience of the Jewish refugees because this is the city which had the largest Jewish population. Ephraim also details what happened after the Americans retook the Philippines, and what life had in store for him, his fellow refugees, and the Filipino Jewish community, in general.

Escape to Manila is a gripping story. Before reading this book I was not aware that the Philippines had served as a place of sanctuary for so many of the European Jews that had fled from the Nazis, nor was I aware of what life was like for Jews in the Philippines during the war. As such, this book was an eye-opening account, which was for me and I’m sure will be for many, an unknown chapter in the history of the Holocaust. Best of all, Ephraim’s account is written in an engaging and spirited style that makes this an easy book to read, despite the wealth of historical facts, names, and events that it describes. This book will fascinate both general and academic readers, and it is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Holocaust or Jewish studies, as well as for those with an interest in Philippine history. For those wishing to delve deeper into this intriguing subject, you will find Ephraim’s endnotes to be a great source for additional information.

From: Escape to Manila: From Nazi Tyranny to Japanese Terror, by Frank Ephraim - The Jewish Eye
Jewish Refugees in Manila at Frieder's Residence 1940's


Last edited by pinai; 02-23-2013 at 09:45 AM..
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:09 PM
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Interesting that in Germany they were not considered Germans and had to leave.
In Manila the Japanese considered them German citizens and therefor, allies.
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Old 11-18-2013, 06:44 PM
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I worked for the Jewish Community of Japan from 1980 to 1998 (the last ten years or so of my stint as its general manager in charge of entire operations), and it's too bad that I only heard about this account this year. I am the first Filipino given the opportunity to run the exclusive Jewish Community Center of Tokyo.

The Japanese diplomat, Chiune Sugihara, was sacked from his position by the Japanese government for his humanitarian act for the Jews in WWII. In the 90s after strong lobbying by the Jewish people , Japan belatedly bestowed some official recognition on Sugihara.

I wondered why the Jewish Community in the Philippines and Jewish organizations worldwide didn't do the same information dissemination as far as Quezon's deeds.
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