Rescue in the Philippines: Rescue from the Holocaust

57 min. Dreamscape. 2013. ISBN unavail.
Gr 9 Up—Five Cincinnati-based brothers who specialized in cigars made from Filipino tobacco shared a grand estate in Manila, where they were among the elite of that city. In response to Adolf Hitler's growing Nazi terror, an urgent rescue operation sprang into action involving the Frieder brothers' cigar business, Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon, U.S. High Commissioner Paul V. McNutt, and Lieutenant Colonel Dwight Eisenhower. They gambled to save more than 1,300 Jews from Nazi Germany because of the failure of the U.S. State Department to provide refuge. President Quezon, though, opened his borders to Jews, who received financial help from the Frieders and diplomatic support from McNutt. At a poker table, these collaborators determined how and who among the refugees would be eligible for job visas. Or, more bluntly, who would be employed by the Frieder's cigar business. Clear, conventional black-and-white footage, interspersed with first-person interviews, reveal this mostly unknown story of a high-stakes poker game between powerful men. Many first-hand witnesses recall what they experienced as children and survivors in Manila and how the whole operation would be thwarted by Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Frieders and Quezon somehow managed to save refugees and in an emotional finale, Passover was celebrated in Manila's synagogue when the United States routed the Japanese in 1945.
VERDICT An unexpected addition to Holocaust studies, excellent for World War II history and ethics studies.

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