Monday, April 10, 2006

The Philippines' Rescue of Jews

The term Righteous Among the Nations was coined as a title that is bestowed on non-jewish people who assisted in the rescue and saving of Jewish lives during the Holocaust.

There is a significant portion about this topic on the book "To Bear Witness" by Bella Gutterman and Avner Shalev of which I had an earlier post. It mentioned individuals and organizations from countries like the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Bosnia and other European nations who courageously took part in providing the Jews shelter and refuge, safe from the Nazi's murderous grasp.

But does only Europe deserve this title?

Indeed in Asia, there were a few countries who also participated in the rescue of the Jews during the Holocaust.

There was China, Japan and the Philippines.

I have to cite Philippine Ambassador Antonio C. Modena's "We Spoke Up for Jews..." article on The Jerusalem Post (May 11, 2005) which expounds on the Philippines' participation on the Jewish rescue.

"The Filipino people held an "indignation rally" on November 19, 1938, attended by government, religious and lay leaders, denouncing the Nazis for the persecution of the racial minorities and actions against the Jews...Our government at that time also cause the issuance of American Visas for travel to the Philippines - then an American commonwealth - saving thousands of Jews from the ovens of death camps."

Modena also mentioned that settling and housing areas near Manila were set up upon orders of then president Manuel Quezon in order to accommodate the Jewish refugees.

I believe that the Philippines, as a nation of sound and humane conscience, wholeheartedly did its part to help the Jews. And for this, it deserves even a simple recognition from Israel, if not the right to belong to the Righteous Among the Nations.

1 comment:

Rainbow River said...

Can you send me links to Antonio C. Modena's articles on Israeli-Filipinim relations?