Righ­teous Filipinos hon­oured


A MON­U­MENT is to be un­veiled in Is­rael to com­mem­o­rate the sav­ing of Jews in the Philip­pines dur­ing the Holo­caust and 50 years of diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

Open Doors will be built in the Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Park of Ris­hon LeZion.

Or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee mem­ber Max Weissler was among around 1,200 Ger­man Jews who fled to the Philip­pines dur­ing the Shoah. Mr Weissler’s fa­ther es­caped fol­low­ing Kristall­nacht in 1938. In 1941, he and his mother fol­lowed and were re­united with his fa­ther in Manila, the Philip­pines cap­i­tal.

“I had my bar­mitz­vah at shul in Manila,” re­calls Mr Weissler, “where the rabbi and the chaz­zan were also Ger­man refugees. At school, my class­mates were Filipino and I learnt the lan­guage, Ta­ga­log, on the street. But, at home, Jewish life con­tin­ued as usual.”

Now 77 and liv­ing in Hod Hasharon, Mr Weissler is ded­i­cated to this mon­u­ment. “I owe it to the Filipino peo­ple,” he says, lament­ing a lack of ded­i­ca­tion among the J ewish com­mu­nity, with most donors Filipino work­ers.

“They work six days a week and then or­gan­ise shows and events on their one day off to raise money. This has been our main source of funds,” he said.

There are an es­ti­mated 37,000 Filipinos cur­rently in Is­rael, most of them fe­male care work­ers. Their av­er­age salaries are well be­low the min­i­mum wage and NGOs warn that as­sault by em­ploy­ers is “wide­spread”.

Grate­ful mem­o­ries: Max Weissler

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