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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

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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.

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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.

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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  • Yoel Nitzarim

    This is a welcomed acknowledgement and truly meaningful event in which the Filipino community can and should take credit for rescuing and protecting Jewish who might otherwise have been doomed to the concentration compassion Europe. Here in Israel there is a significant number of Filipino caretakers of the elderly. Their presence is surely welcomed. After my mother survived a big stroke in which most of the right hemisphere of her brain was destroyed, a wonderful Filipino caregiver came to live with my parents and took marvellous care of her for the last six years of her life. Lisa,, the caregiver, always called my mother “Mom.”!

    I would wish to suggest that what is occurring here in Israel now is not a continuation of the Kristallnacht in any manner, shape or form. Yes, anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism whenever and wherever it occurs. Notwithstanding, Israel is not Germany in 1939. Neither is it located in Europe. Israel is the Jewish homeland. It is the one place in the entire world that Jews can really, truly call home! It is our land! The terrorism we face hear has been occurring since Rosh Hashanah and if anything, it seems to be gaining pace deplorably. It is definitely not a two-day event; contrariwise, it is a type of terrorism moving from, but not excluding stone-and rock-throwing, car ramming, petrol and molotov cocktail throwing and bombing, knifing and stabbing, and shooting mainly Fatah and PLO incited and rocket attacks from Hamas. The incitement is carried out by imams, PA leaders, especially Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas leaders and spokespersons. Children, women, and the elderly are committing the stabbings as well as car rammings on children, women, the elderly and male civilians as well as male and female Israeli soldiers. This is not the Kristallnacht of 1939: it is the newest round of terrorism and terrorist murder to scare the Jewish population into leaving the country. And it will definitely not work. Unlike a vast majority of Jews in Europe during the Shoah, we are well trained, well-equipped, and well prepared for any and very type of terrorist occurrence in Israel in addition to the territories.

  • Hello Shiryn,

    The name of the film described in your story is incorrect. I am the producer of “Rescue in the Philippines” and know Sharon Delmundo as well as the producer of their film Sonny Izon. Although the topics are quite similar, their film has a different name.

    Please contact Dr. Delmundo and relay to her this mistake. You are not the first to make this mistake as it was originally printed by the Winnepeg news. We have already reached out to the author of that article, and she has acknoledged the mistake.

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