Israel Honors the Philippines

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RISHON LEZION, Israel - Israel will honor the Philippines and its people for sheltering some 1,200 Jews who fled the Nazi regime in the Second World War.

On June 21st, a monument to the Philippines will be unveiled in the Rishon LeZion Holocaust Park near Tel Aviv.

The monument, titled "Open Doors," is designed with three steel doors and marble floor tiles to honor the "courage, hospitality and determination" of the Philippines, which sheltered the refugees, read a statement on the Israeli Embassy Web site.

"The warm hospitality of the Filipino people undoubtedly shed light on one of the darkest and most difficult periods in Jewish history," the embassy said.

The idea for the monument came from a book written by Holocaust survivor Frank Ephraim, entitled "Escape to Manila," published in 2003.

In his book, Ephraim describes his family's pilgrimage, along with 35 other Jewish refugees, to the Philippines, a U.S. commonwealth at the time, which was later captured by the Japanese.

Ephraim was eight years old when his parents fled to the Philippines from Berlin in 1939 and were taken in by Filipino President Manuel Quezon.

Though the Philippines were prepared to receive 10,000 Jewish refugees a year, only 1,200 European Jews made it to Manila.

When U.S. troops liberated the Philippine capital in 1945, 67 Jewish refugees were among the 100,000 Filipino residents killed in the massive bombing that liberated Manila from the Japanese.

Manila's only synagogue was destroyed in the fighting.

Source: The Associated Press

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