An Open Door
60 mins | English | USA | Documentary
Production Status: Completed
An Open Door is a feature-length documentary on the uplifting story of how a small Asian nation was able to save over 1,300 Jews as they fled the pogroms of Nazi Germany. It is written, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Noel M. Izon and co-produced by author Sharon Delmendo. This is the third film in his World War II trilogy Forgotten Stories.
Multiple award winner including Best Documentary at Hawaii International Film Festival.
Produced by veteran filmmaker Noel Izon
Producer's Representative: MediaFusion/ Carol Bidault
Thanks to Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film Schindler’s List, many know the story of Oskar Schindler’s rescue of 1,200 Jews during World War II. Yet few are aware of how 1,300 Jewish refugees also found a haven in the Philippines.
Indeed, up to one million Jews might have been saved, had President Roosevelt and an anti-Semitic US State Department not resisted Philippine President Manuel Quezon’s offer of sanctuary…. An Open Door – Holocaust Haven in the Philippines finally brings this riveting story to the screen.
Jews seeking to flee Nazi persecution in the 1930s had few options, and these were dwindling rapidly. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 and similar anti-Jewish legislation stripped them not only of their fundamental rights, but their assets as well. This made emigration even more difficult.
Even as the anti-Jewish violence of Kristallnacht in 1938 made Nazi intentions clear to the world, Jewish refugees were unwanted. Immigration quotas – already discriminatory – were held down by the global Depression. Politicians were loath to welcome “paupers” to compete for scarce jobs and add to relief rolls. The US government itself was rife with anti-Semitic sentiment.
Onto this hostile stage came an ad hoc group determined to find a solution. Instrumental were Philippines President Manuel Quezon and US High Commissioner to the Philippines Paul McNutt. Also key were the Frieder brothers – Jewish owners of a Manila-based cigar business – and Jacob and Julius Weiss, working with Jewish, American and European networks seeking havens for Jews from Europe.