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Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands
View of Mainland Marinduque from Tres Reyes Islands-Click on Photo to link to Marinduque Awaits You

Friday, October 15, 2010

Escape to Manila-Book Review and Summary

Escape to Manila
I just finished reading this book and I found it worth my time. If you are a history enthusiast, teacher or student, this is a must read book for you. Here's a summary of the book : Escape To Manila: From Nazi Tyranny To Japanese Terror by Frank Ephraim

With the rise of Nazism in the 1930s more than a thousand European Jews sought refuge in the Philippines, joining the small Jewish population of Manila. When the Japanese invaded the islands in 1941, the peaceful existence of the barely settled Jews filled with the kinds of uncertainties and oppression they thought they had left behind. In this book Frank Ephraim, who fled to Manila with his parents, gathers the testimonies of thirty-six refugees, who describe the difficult journey to Manila, the lives they built there upon their arrival, and the events surrounding the Japanese invasion. Combining these accounts with historical and archival records, Manila newspapers, and U.S. government documents, Ephraim constructs a detailed account of this little-known chapter of world history.
Monument in Israel honoring President Manuel L Quezon and the Filipino people for helping many German Jews to come to the Philippines to escape from interment and eventual death by the Nazi's
Here's a review of the book by Michael Valdivielso. He gave it 5 stars out of 6 Mixture of history and first-person stories..., September 12, 2003

In this book Mr. Frank Ephraim not only tells us about the history of "Manilaners", Jews who fled Europe and headed to the Philippines, but also tells us about the Jewish community already there. His book is detailed, with both the facts of history AND the emotions and actions of the people themselves. We never feel that the Jews, Filipinos, Americans and Japanese are faceless puppets.

He starts off giving us a very complete history of the Philippines, then focusing on Europe and the problems that Jews had living under the growing power of the Third Reich. Soon we are following the resourceful refugees to Manila. We watch them start a new life, with the help of those around them, showing us the support and empathy that the Jews and Filipinos had for the newcomers.

Then the Japanese invaded and he shows us how everyone came even closer together, doing everything to live a normal life. We learn about daily life, the struggle for food and trying to understand how to deal with the Japanese while they also deal with the big long term problems, like trying to find schools for their children and continuing their form of worship under the paranoid eyes of the Japanese.

Of course, the book ends with the American invasion, the bloody fight for Manila and the aftermath. The author does nothing to hide the tragic results of the battle or the fact that even when peace came the Jews still had problems just making ends meet.

This is a book for anybody into Asian history, Jewish history, the history of the Philippines, World War Two and Japanese history. A must for any history library, really, touching on many subjects.

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