Filipino diplomat lauds Jewish community for typhoon aid

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — The Philippines ambassador to the United States praised the Jewish community for its help in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

“The Filipino people will always remember that during their time of need, the Jewish people came to their succor the same way we did when we opened our door to them to save them from Nazi persecution more than seven decades ago,” Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. said in remarks during a recent screening of the documentary “Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust” at the Philippine Embassy in Washington.

Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever, killed more than 6,000 people and displaced millions last November. While the damage was heaviest in the Philippines, the typhoon also killed people in China, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Cuisia cited the important role of the American Jewish Joint Jewish Distribution Committee, the Israel Defense Forces and other humanitarian organizations that provided food, shelter, clean water and sanitation to typhoon victims.

“Rescue” tells how Phillipines President Manuel Luis Quezon and five Jewish-American brothers, along with U.S. High Commissioner Paul McNutt, then-Col. Dwight Eisenhower and the JDC, helped 1,200 Jews escape the Nazis and immigrate to the Philippines.