|Philippine Humanitarian Deeds to be Honored by Boys Town Jerusalem|
Embassy of the Republic Boys Town Jerusalem
of the Philippines Kiryat Noar Yerushalayim
02 March 2011, Jerusalem -- Nearly 75 years after the Philippine government took bold steps to offer refuge to Jews under Nazi persecution, Israel’s youngest generation is paying tribute to the Philippine nation. At a ceremony to be held at Boys Town Jerusalem on Monday, March 14 at 10 AM, in the presence of Philippine Ambassador to the State of Israel Petronila P Garcia and Philippine and Israeli government officials, the school will confer the “Jan Zwartendijk Award for Humanitarian Ethics and Values” in recognition of the humanitarian efforts of the Philippine nation. A “Philippine Marker” will be unveiled at the Jan Zwartendijk Memorial Garden on the Boys Town campus, saluting “PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT MANUEL LUIS QUEZON AND THE PEOPLE OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.”
Philippine Ambassador Garcia, who will receive this Award on behalf of the Philippines and the late President Quezon, will also unveil a picture of the first synagogue in Manila, known as Temple Emil, which will be displayed permanently in Boys Town Jerusalem’s main academic building.
According to the Dean of Boys Town Jerusalem Rabbi Moshe Linchner, “A fundamental tenet of Boys Town is to imbue our students with the humane, ethical values that are vital to Judaism. Fifteen years ago we instituted the Jan Zwartendijk Award, named for the courageous actions of this non-Jewish Dutch diplomat who saved over 2000 lives during the Holocaust. Since that time, we have continued to honor the deeds of caring, concerned human beings whose actions to “do what is right” bear witness to the goodness of mankind. Today we are proud to teach our students the inspiring—and little known—history of the brave, meaningful actions of the Philippine nation to give refuge to persecuted Jews during the dark period of Holocaust inhumanity.”
On 19 November 1938, the people of the Philippines took to the streets to express their indignation against the persecution of the Jews. A thousand people attended an “Indignation Rally” held in Manila to express their moral outrage and to denounce the Kristallnacht. Later, the Manila Municipal Board condemned Nazi persecution of the Jews and extended a “brotherly welcome” to the Jewish immigrants.
More importantly, the Philippines offered 10,000 visas for the European Jews and 1,200 visas were later issued just before the War. President Quezon offered employment opportunities and supported the construction of a housing community outside Manila complete with farmland taken from his own private estate for the refugees’ use.
On 23 April 1940, President Quezon led the dedication of the housing community building for the Jewish refugees, and said: “It is my hope, and indeed my expectation, that the people of the Philippines will have in the future every reason to be glad that when the time of need came, their country was willing to extend a hand of welcome”.
“Indeed, the marker is a gesture of recognition by the Philippines and Israel of the friendship of the Filipino and Jewish peoples,” declared Philippine Ambassador to the State of Israel Petronila P Garcia. “It represents a mutual commitment to educate the young generations of Jews and Filipinos about this magnanimity and gesture of humanity unparalleled in Philippine history and the history of Jews during World War II.”
Journalists are invited to attend the ceremony at Boys Town Jerusalem, #20 Harav Frank, Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem, Monday March 14th at 10 AM. For further details: Ferdinand Flores, Vice Consul Philippine Embassy: 03-6010506
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