‘Open Doors’ monument in Israel honors Philippines

Dept. of Tourism
Dept. of Tourism

Yesterday, the Open Doors monument in honor of the Philippines has been unveiled in Israel’s Rishon Lezion Memorial Park. The landmark recognizes the Filipino’s courage and hospitality when back in 1939, during the crisis the Jews were facing, President Manuel L. Quezon declared the open doors policy for thousands of Jews. See the survey site of the location here.

As Guest of Honour at the event, Philippine Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said,

“This monument commemorates the Philippines’ selfless efforts in opening the country for thousands of Jews, where they found a safe haven during a difficult period in their history. It is indeed an honour to remember this strong connection…”

The Open Door policy had provisions for housing in Marikina and an allotment for a farm and large settlement area in Mindanao for the Jewish refugees before the outbreak of World War II.

The book Escape to Manila by Frank Ephraim, a Holocaust survivor, documented these episodes. This book inspired the creation of the Open Doors monument through the initiative of the late Ambassador to Israel Antonio Modena four years ago. Unfortunately, he died in Manila last February 2007.

Ephraim wrote in this book:

The Philippines held out a promise of a safe haven from Nazi oppression, offering survival from mass murder of the Jewish people in Europe.

Using marble tiles from Romblon, metal sheets and reinforced concrete for the base, the monument was designed by acclaimed Filipino artist Jun Yee saying:

“The rising design of the open doors represents ‘soaring in triumph.’ One cannot imagine a more fitting symbol for this occasion than the Open Doors, dramatically and contemporarily designed.”

*Images and some text from the press release were used with permission.

Indeed, the Open Doors monument forged stronger ties between the Philippines and Israel..

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