I am and have always been interested in World War II stories and the plight of Jews then, before and now. When I met Elena and then planned to move to the Philippines I wondered about the history of Jews in the Philippines. I did not find a lot of information but that there were not a large population of Jewish people here and there is just one Synagogue and that is in Manila. During my research I found information about the book, Escape to Manila: From Nazi Tyranny to Japanese Terror by Frank Ephraim.
Once I received my copy, I found it very interesting about the history of Jewish people in the Philippines. Once I started the book it was hard to put down. The following is interesting information and history I learned from this book.
Toward the 19th Century there was just a handful of Jews living precariously under Spanish rule, but they prospered.
Many came here after the Spanish American War. Most were entrepreneurs and one was instrumental starting the Stock Exchange.
With the start of Nazi rule in Germany many of the American Jews looked for ways to help family members and other Jews in Germany to escape and to come to the Philippines for safety. There was also a time when the organization here working with the Philippine Government and American philanthropists to bring 10,000 Jews from Germany and locate them on Mindanao to open farms, but with all the war problems, this deal fell through.
Then comes the time when the Japanese forces occupied the Philippines. At first they looked at the German Jews as Germans who was their ally in the war against the US. Then they realized they were Jews and an enemy of their allies.
The book then tells the story of how these people worked, survived or died during this occupation.
If you’re interested in World War II, the plight of the Jews, or just history, I would recommend it. That is why I have it on my link to the Amazon book ad on the site.
There are some other interesting books I have read about the Philippines and will give some excerpts and my thoughts on the subject.
If there are any books you have read and feel I or others might like to read, please comment.