"The world knows about Austrian industrialist Oskar Schindler and how he saved 1,100 Polish Jews during WWII by hiring them as workers in his factory because of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List which received the 1993 Oscar for Best Picture. This month, the world will know about Philippine Commonwealth Pres. Manuel L. Quezon and how he helped 1,305 German Jews escape Nazi persecution in 1939 by providing them with visas and safe shelter in the Philippines because of a documentary, Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge From the Holocaust, being shown in PBS stations throughout the US."
Who could have imagined that cigars and poker would be the main ingredients in the recipe of rescue of Jews on the cusp of World War II? Narrated by Liev Schreiber and with a promo quote from Eisenhower’s granddaughter, Susan Eisenhower as “A story for all time,” this 3 Roads Communications film puts the gutsy president Quezon on the map as a Righteous Gentile alongside Oskar Schindler.
"It’s likely that none but the most ardent scholars are aware of the role the Philippines played in saving Jewish lives while much of the rest of the world looked the other way. – a chilling observation by one survivor – 'How could anyone have known that [the horror of Nazi Germany] would get to be what it did?' she asks. 'And you know what? I think it could happen again anywhere.'"
"Narrated by the ubiquitous documentary voice of Liev Schreiber—the story receives a gripping, uplifting treatment that reminds us that there are still yet unsung heroes of this tragic chapter in human history. This hour-long film details the noble efforts of a fascinatingly disparate group of figures–ranging from that country’s first president, Manuel Quezon, to a quintet of Jewish cigar manufacturer siblings from Cincinnati—to step where many other countries feared to tread."
"As children, Jane Frieder Ellis and Alice Frieder Weston could hear their fathers’ poker games from their bedroom in their Manila home. But the cousins didn’t know the high-stakes discussions going on during those smoke-filled sessions."
"This Untold Saga Involving Presidents, Cigars, and Poker, Tells a Gripping and Inspirational True Story of Moral Courage."
"What the film most powerfully illustrates is how the vagaries and variables of seemingly unconnected events (Japan’s conquest of China in 1937, a year before Kristallnacht) and unimportant human connections (the poker games President Quezon hosted, with guests including U.S. politicians and the Frieders) can converge in ways that change the course of history."
"The fascinating documentary “Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge From the Holocaust,” with narration by Liev Schreiber, recounts a little-known chapter of World War II heroism that is as heartbreaking as it is courageous."
"In the year when the MS St. Louis was rejected by all the countries where it sought refuge, the Philippine Commonwealth accepted 1,300 Jews and was willing to accept as much as 10,000 more if the US State Department had allowed its commonwealth to do so."
"Painstakingly researched, finely crafted – and entertaining to boot – Rescue in the Philippines shares a story that has to be seen to be believed. With all of the drama usually reserved for a Hollywood art film, Rescue in the Philippines will inspire you with its heights of human compassion, and horrify you with it’s antithesis: The horrors of war and the destruction of the Nazi menace."
"Though of different faiths and cultural backgrounds, the team worked together to extricate Jews from Germany and Austria, issue visas and bring them to Manila. It wasn’t easy. The noose had already started to tighten around the Jews of Europe, and the State Department wasn’t keen on the rescue effort."
"The rescue of 1,300 German and Austrian Jews from Nazi death camps and their relocation to Manila in the Philippines during World War II is a story of the Holocaust that is seldom told — until now… narrated by actor Liev Schreiber."
"Rating 100% If every war is a thousand rolling tragedies, then the flip side of such conflict is also the opportunities it provides for humanity to showcase the better angels of its nature. Brent Simon, “Riveting and vital” Avi Offer"
"Although it runs just under an hour, the gripping documentary “Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge From the Holocaust” proves a thorough look at a lesser-known chapter in Holocaust-era history."
"Holocaust Heroism in the Philippines: The fascinating documentary “Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge From the Holocaust,” with narration by Liev Schreiber, recounts a little-known chapter of World War II heroism that is as heartbreaking as it is courageous. While much of the world was reluctant to help early victims of Nazi Germany, an effort devised in Manila during late-night poker games eventually delivered more than 1,200 European Jews to safety in the tropics."