Aquino watches premiere of documentary on Jewish asylum seekers in PHL

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III attended Thursday the premiere screening of the documentary "Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust", a film on Jews fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany during World War II.

In his message during the film screening in Malacanang, the President said there are important lessons in the story of the Jewish escape to Manila.

First, it is the imperative of all men to take a stand against wrongdoing, and second, everyone must do his or her part to provide a new life, a better life, to all those who would be deprived of life, whether by tyranny or by poverty, he said.

"And last, that the measure of our humanity is our ability to give of ourselves, even, and perhaps most importantly, when it hurts," he said.

Thursday's event paid tribute to that time in Philippine history when the administration of Manuel Quezon took care and sheltered Jews fleeing Nazi persecution during World War II in Europe.

"We Filipinos, who once extended a helping hand to our Jewish brothers and sisters in the face of oppression, now receive the same, as we work to build back better and overcome emerging challenges in the wake of Haiyan," the President said.

The Chief Executive said he hopes that all those who watch the documentary, whether in classrooms and homes in the coming years, would continue to adopt the spirit of volunteerism to help their fellowmen.

He also extended his gratitude to the people behind the documentary, such as Russ Hodge, Cindy Scott, Dr. Barbara Sasser, and Peggy Ellis, and the rest of their team, as well as other Jewish organizations for helping the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.

The people behind the film and Jewish organizations arranged for the donation of $2.5 million worth of prosthetics, as well as raised about $1.4 million for the typhoon victims.

"Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust" is a one-hour documentary on how the Philippines became an asylum to some 1,300 Jews, who escaped Nazi tyranny during the Second World War.

The rescue was orchestrated in 1939 by then Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon, US High Commissioner Paul McNutt and US Army Colonel Dwight Eisenhower. (SDR/Sunnex)

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