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November 8, 2015 8:08 am

Winnipeg Jews and Filipinos to Gather for Joint Kristallnacht Commemoration, Pay Homage to Role of Philippines in Rescue of Jews During Holocaust

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The interior of the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue in Berlin after Kristallnacht. Photo: Wiki Commons.

The interior of the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue in Berlin after Kristallnacht. Photo: Wiki Commons.

For the first time ever, an annual event held in Winnipeg, Canada, to mark the anniversary of Kristallnacht will be attended by the Canadian city’s Filipino community, the Winnipeg Free Press (WFP) reported on Thursday.

On Monday, the Winnipeg Jewish community will be honoring the role of the Philippines in the rescue of Jews following the fateful pogrom, also known as the “Night of Broken Glass.”

The event, called the “Philippine-Jewish Connection,” is taking place at the Asper Jewish Community Campus on Nov. 9, which marks the anniversary of Kristallnacht. On that date 77 years ago (Nov, 9-10, 1938), an estimated 100 Jews were murdered, and another 30,000 sent to concentration camps by paramilitary forces in Germany and Austria, who also destroyed 7,000 Jewish businesses, ransacked schools and burned down hundreds of synagogues.

Following the widely reported pogrom, “It became clear that German and Austrian Jews were no longer safe in their homes and would need to seek shelter elsewhere. But the doors to elsewhere largely remained closed,” wrote the WFP.

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Philippine President Manuel Quezon, however, took a different approach. Working with American officials and a group of businessmen — five brothers from Cincinnati who produced cigars — he brought 1,200 European Jews to his country.

The story of this effort is the subject of a documentary film, Rescue in the Philippinesset to premiere at the Winnipeg event.

In the film, historian Sharon Delmendo explains, “Quezon developed an affinity for the Jews, because he felt that there was a symbolic brotherhood between Filipinos and Jews, as the Filipinos were the recipients of racial discrimination and bigotry on the part of many Americans at the time, and the Jews were similarly the recipients of bigotry by the Nazis.”

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