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13/04/2012: Documentary on Rescue of Jews in the Philippines Previewed in Cincinnati


Peggy Ellis and Barbara Sasser, co-producers of “Rescue in the Philippines,” addresses guests at the preview of the film at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.

13 April 2012, Washington DC.  A reception was held on April 10, 2012 at the Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Cincinnati, Ohio to show a preview of “Rescue in the Philippines,” a documentary that will tell the story of how the Frieder brothers, U.S. High Commissioner Paul McNutt, Army Colonel Dwight Eisenhower, and former Philippine President Manuel Quezon rescued more than 1,200 Jews from the Nazis by immigrating and resettling them in the Philippines.

Accomplishing the rescue were seven men from completely different backgrounds – military, political, business, Jewish, Protestant and Catholic – with different personal agendas and reasons for being in Manila.  It is also the story of how the Philippines, then a young nation and at considerable political risk, takes its seat at the table of nations by demonstrating moral courage to do what it considered was right.  Pivotal was the extraordinary support of President Quezon who said, “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.”

Dr. Gary Zola, Executive Director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) and Professor of the American Jewish Experience at HUC-Jewish Institute of Religion, hosted the program in Cincinnati.  He commented that the story “is not a well-known episode in the history of the Nazi period…the film project would undoubtedly bring positive attention to this bittersweet chapter in Holocaust history – attention it so richly deserves.”

Serving as the program’s special guests were Uschi Progl, a German refugee who is featured in the preview, Sarah Weiss of the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, Shep Englander of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, and Emil Fernandez, First Secretary and Consul of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., who in his remarks noted that “Rescue in the Philippines is not just an account of how huge bureaucratic obstacles were overcome but more importantly it will teach future generations about the values of courage and sympathy.”  Representatives from the Filipino-American community of Cincinnati were also present.

First Secretary & Consul Emil Fernandez of the Philippine Embassy, leftmost, is shown with (l-r) Peggy Ellis, Jane Ellis, Barbara Sasser, Ushci Progl, and Gary Zola.

The event was organized by Peggy Ellis and Barbara Sasser, descendants of the Frieder brothers and co-producers of the project.  Last January, the pair accompanied the filmmaking crew, 3 Roads Communications, to the Philippines to conduct interviews and shoot video footage for the film.  3 Roads Communications is an award-winning production company, with more than a dozen Emmys, Tellys, and Peabody Awards, with over 20 years’ experience in documentary, news and public affairs production.

The trailer of “Rescue in the Philippines” may be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPiCJFmdH94.  END