My German Jewish Descent?

My ancestry, in the mother side, still remains a mystery.

My interest about our mother-side ancestry started agressively in 2002. My research is smoothly progressing. All the while, I always zero-in on American lineage, but I felt that there always seems to be a dead end in the study, all documents I gathered just ended up into multiple speculation.


In the evening of October 23, 2009 during the wake of my brother Anthony Lowell Remollo Petalcorin (Born 09/10/1978 Cagayan de Oro City, Died 10/18/2009 Valencia Bukidnon) in Divine Shepherd Chapels Bulua Cagayan de Oro City, I happened to interview my mother's cousin named Camilo Joloyohoy. Other persons present during the talk were Mark Ihrwell and Maria Cynthia. Below are the five revelations and leads provided by Manong Camilo.

  • My mother is Alicia Joloyohoy Remollo. Alicia'a mother is Ines Joloyohoy.

  • Ines has a sister named Potenciana Joloyojoy (Puping) who lives in Bohol.

  • Alicia has an elder sister named Andrita who is 3 years older than Alicia. Andrita probably resides in Candijay Bohol or Cebu. Andrita was a classmate of Camilo Joloyohoy when they were in gradeschool in Bohol.

  • Ines was a WW2 evacuee in Bukidnon Mindanao sometime in 1945-1946 when he met a lover who is a high ranking officer of the American soldiers.

  • The American officer is said to be a "German" with a rank that sounds like a "Captain".


If I remember it right, one time when I was a little kid (between 7-10 yrs old), our Lola Ines visited our family's residence in Villa Ernesto Subdivision Gusa Cagayan de Oro City. She tagged along an old lady, I cannot recall the name. That old lady sat beside me outside the house and she told me that my "real" lolo was an American Officer during the war described as "one-eyed jack".

Just a quick background. Based on my mom's birth certificate that is corrected in year 2000 (Iligan Reg # 1060 Page 82 Series 175), her name is Alicia Joloyohoy Remollo, born in October 18, 1946 in Overton Lanao del Norte. Her mother is Enecita Joloyohoy (born in 1923 Candijay Bohol) and her father is a soldier named Jose Remollo (born 1919 in Dumaguete Negros Oriental). My grandpa probably left Dumaguette way back before 1946.

My mom is known to be a child of Ines Joloyohoy and Remollo, although the registration of mommy's birth certificate is already filed late 1990s, in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur. Ines and Remollo have many children after mommy. However, the physical features of mommy is somewhat different than her siblings. Mommy looks a real caucasian beauty, middle eastern type, thin dark brown hair, deep brown eyes, fair skin with freckles, and pinkish palm and soles.

Since Iwas young, I have already heard a lot of rumors from old relatives that mommy is not a blood-daughter of Remollo, but of someone else who is a foreign military officer during World War 2. There was never an instance that Lola Ines commented on those rumors for some reason. Lola Ines died in Quezon City in October 2008.

About me, well, my picture when I was a little baby will speak for itself. They say I was bald, very pinkish white complexion, glowing white skin that never turn tan under the sun, when I was a baby. And all of us, kids of Alicia, have prominent non-ordinary-filipino features (meaning, foreign features). My dad was a Petalcorin - typical dark brown, curly hair, tpical epitome of a Filipino. All of us (siblings) got our features from mom, she must have strong blood. The only one who looks like dad is Mark Ihrwell, my elder brother. The combination of Petalcorin and my mom produced six very beautiful and handsome kids, and very extremely naturally intelligent too.


Recently, I took the alternative route jumping off from Nong Camilo's account that Ines (grandma) mate was a "German".

Based on my readings on documented historical accounts during that period, the speculations leads to one of those Jewish refugees who escaped Hitler. Many Jews moved from Germany to Shanghai then to Manila between 1935-1946 -- they are called German Jews. According to Jacques Lipetz, "The Jewish colony in Manila was a mixture of German Jews who hailed largely from Breslau and Frankfurt, a variety of other European Jews from Eastern Europe mainly, a number of Sephards from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq and ......". My possible grandpa is probably one of those were recruited by US forces in Manila and then assigned to Bukidnon-Lanao area where he met lola Ines in an evacuation center.

I cannot find any lead to any documentary evidence that Americans recruited German decent among the officers of the US Military assigned in Mindanao. During WW2, the US military considered all German decents as "Enemy Ancestry" -- they jailed the German Americans in concentration camps in US. The only document the word "German" could probably be associated to American troops in Mindanao in around 1946 are the German Jews who took refuge in Manila from Shanghai.

There is this article entitled "Singapore, Manila, and HarbinAs Reference Points for Asian ‘Port Jewish‘ Identity" that was written by Jonathan Goldstein. In his article he said:

"On September 8, 1937 twenty-eight German Jews from Shanghai arrived in Manila aboard the Norddeutscher Lloyd steamship “Gneisenau.” Hitler’s government evacuated these Jews and approximately equal number of non-Jews from Shanghai to Manila as a humanitarian gesture, in order to safeguard all German passport holders from Sino-Japanese hostilities. That was the extent of Nazi Germany’s assistance to these Jews who had fled to Shanghai explicitly to escape Hitler. A “Jewish Refugee Committee” of Manila hastily convened to help these unexpected arrivals. The refugees also received encouragement and assistance from U.S. High Commissioner Paul McNutt, a Democratic presidential aspirant who had been on the job in Manila only six months. The Committee quickly realized that under these fortuitous circumstances it might be able to assist other Jews fleeing Hilter." (cont..)

"Jack Rosenthal, an American-Jewish friend of Philippine President Manuel A. Quezon,was able to interest the islands’ chief executive in the plight of European Jewry. Theafore mentioned Commissioner McNutt, and ultimately Quezon himself, took note of the skills that many Jewish immigrants could bring to the underdeveloped Philippine islands,especially Mindanao in the south. On February 15, 1939, President Quezon sent amessage to the Philippine congress, urging the admission of 10,000 German Jewish professionals plus a Philippine $300 million subsidy to assist them in settling Mindanao. While this grandiose scheme never materialized, Rosenthal was able to persuade Quezon to independently authorize the admission of perhaps as many as one thousand Nazi-persecuted Jews."


The photo above is one remarkable German Jews who played a great role in world history. He was believed to have came from German Jew decent. He was Vladimir Illich Ulyanov, who later on in his life became known as Lenin, popularly recognized as the founder of the then Communist Russian Empire.

According to some documents, "Lenin was born on April 10, 1870 in the vicinity of Odessa, South of Russia, as a son of Ilko Sroul Goldmann, a German Jew, and Sofie Goldmann, a German Jewess. Lenin was circumcised as Hiam Goldmann"(Common Sense, April 1, 1963). Lenin, or Oulianov by adoption, originally Zederbaum, a Kalmuck Jew, married a Jewess, and whose children speak Yiddish." (Major-General, Count Cherep-Spiridovich, The SecretWorld Government, p. 36). "Lenin, as a child, was left behind, there, by acompany of prisoners passing through, and later his Jewish convict father, Ilko Sroul Goldman, wrote inquiring his whereabouts. Lenin had already been picked up and adopted by Qulianoff." (D. Petrovsky, Russia under the Jews, p. 86). Probably after his adoption, he was registered as Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, born on 22 April 1870, to Maria Alexandrovna Blank, a schoolmistress, and Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov a physics instructor, at Simbirsk, in the Russian Empire (Wikipedia).


The German Jewish people that migrated to the Philippines were from Shanghai. They were Jewish bloodlines who were used to be German Citizens (because they resided in Germany) but were forced to find a way out of Europe after the German Government cancelled their German citizenship and begun killing them. Some of them were able to free from Germany to Shanghai China. While the Japanese invade China, they immigrated further to Philippines. Mindanao was the target refugee settlement. The refuge was a brainchild and legwork of the Freider Brothers (Alex, Philip, Herbert, and Morris) who established the small Jewish community in Manila.

There is this interesting article of The Center of Holocaust and Humanity Education that accounted the following report:

"The Frieder family of Cincinnati lived an idyllic life in Manila, having moved their cigar-making business to the Philippine Islands, a commonwealth of the U.S., in 1921. Four brothers, Alex, Philip, Herbert, and Morris Frieder, took turns living in Manila, joining the small Jewish community. Traveling back and forth by boat, each brother and his family spent two years in the Philippines living in a beautiful home overlooking the rice fields. ..." (cont)

"While the Frieders were living a life of privilege in the Philippines, the Nazi Party was on the rise in Germany, and the rich Jewish cultural life came under attack. The horrifying scenes of Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938, convinced many Jews that Germany was no longer safe. For two days the Nazis brutally destroyed Jewish homes, businesses, cemeteries, and over 1,000 synagogues, and arrested 30,000 German-Jewish men, placing them in concentration camps. Fearing for their lives, many Jews escaped Germany, often fleeing to little-known destinations..." (cont)

"Meanwhile, the small Jewish community in Manila listened to the news coming from Europe with growing apprehension. Learning that German Jews were seeking to escape Nazi tyranny, the Manila community was anxious to help. The entire community raised money to help Jews in Shanghai, but when the money was not needed, they kept it for emergencies... " (cont)

"The Frieders were part of the elite social circle in Manila, which allowed them to have access to influential people who might be willing to help. Their crucial connections helped bring about the immigration of Jews from Germany and Austria. U.S. High Commissioner Paul McNutt went to the Refugee Economic Corporation and the Frieder sons with the idea of choosing immigrants to come to the Philippines as long as the existing Jewish community helped to support them... " (cont)

"Because of their personal relationship with Manuel Quezon, the Frieder brothers were able to ask him for help. Quezon responded by opening the doors to Jewish immigration. Morris Frieder's letter outlines a plan for 10,000 Jewish refugees to find haven in the Philippines. Quezon donated some of his own land for the building of a residence hall, Marikina Hall, for the refugees who eventually began referring to themselves as "Manilaners." The war brought immigration to a halt, but not before 1,200 Jews were rescued from the Nazis...." (cont)

"Shortly following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces occupied the Philippines. The battle to retake Manila began in early 1945. Some of the refugees were caught between the advancing Allied forces and retreating Japanese, as the battle was fought in the streets of Manila. Refugees lost family members, homes and possessions in the brutal battle.

In addition to losing friends and family, homes, and possessions, the Jewish community also lost their beloved synagogue. Temple Emil was taken over by the Japanese commander in late 1944, and was destroyed during the Battle of Manila. In a service on November 9, 1945, commemorating the seventh anniversary of Kristallnacht, a group of Jewish servicemen and women donated funds to rebuild the synagogue. In the years after the war, many of the refugees made their way to the United States or the new state of Israel, but they did not forget the haven that they had found in the Philippines..." (cont)


There is an article in the American Chronicle dot Com about the Freider-McNutt Project of New Jewish Community in Mindanao. The article is entitled "Manilaners: Holocaust Survivors in Quezon's List". The article says: "In Manila, amidst all the rumours and apprehension, the intrepid band of brothers, the Freiders, harnessed the resources of a small sympathetic Jewish congregation in Manila. They pursued efforts in securing Philippine visas from Manuel Luis Quezon and the helpful US High Commissioner Paul Mcnutt. To even rationalize the highly controversial repatriation to the Philippines, a list of qualified Jews was made identifying specific professions and craftsman skills."(cont...)

"Soon, they would carry with pride their being Manilaners, nurtured by a caring Jewish safe haven and would soon thrive even in worship at a Manila synagogue. This was called Temple Emil along Taft. Avenue, Manila´s main thoroughfare outside of the Walled City of Intramuros. This Jewish house of worship was named after its most prominent benefactor with a hall named after the wealthy Bacharachs. An incredible saga of humanitarian sanctuary provided by visionary Manuel Quezon is made even more noteworthy with the fact that the statesman had also donated personal real estate property in Marikina, a suburb outside Manila for settlement and cultivation. Added to this, Quezon put forward an ambitious MINDANAO PLAN for massive relocation of the displaced Jews. No other undertaking by the Allied Powers was made despite various intelligence reports and smuggled documented accounts from the Nazi concentration camps disguised as labor resettlement sites." (cont)

"In what would be a futile race against time and human apathy, the proposed MINDANAO PLAN would have provided sanctuary for the persecuted tribes of Israel. With a yearly quota of 10,000 Jewish refugees, the largely unpopulated southern Philippine Island of Mindanao would have been a New Jerusalem, had not the politicians griped about these dangerous "Communists" and "Christ killers". This prevailing and despicable streak of Anti Semitism would eventually slam the doors for refuge for the Jews into the ravenous Death Squads of Himmler and Eichmann, literally fanning the flames of the death chambers. Deemed too overly ambitious, the Mindanao Plan had its counterparts in other refuges, as in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and in Madagascar. But had Quezon prevailed, for all the so called schemes that he was also accused of (typical of a Filipino sociocultural flaw and American isolationist leanings), hundreds, if not thousands, would have been saved from the cattle cars bearing fodder for Auschwitz and Treblinka. "

I made some estimates about the location and it appears to be somewhere north of Bukidnon near the Lanao Lake, refer to the map it is probably around Marawi and Valencia area. This is probably the Bukidnon evacuation area that Camilo was talking about.

As of now, I am searching the name of the German Jew who joined the Allied Forces, became officer of the Americans, who was assigned to a refugee camp or evacuation center somewhere in the Bukidnon-Lanao strip in 1945-1946. My mom was born October 10, 1946, therefore she was probably conceived early part of 1946.

The closest document I have about a German Jewish US military in Philippines is the article of Tirol. It says: "What really triggered a growth in the Jewish population was the colonization of the Philippines by the United States. Unsurprisingly, some of the American soldiers were Jewish. For example, Lewis Gleeck noted, Sergeant Major Simon Feldstein of the 26th Volunteer Infantry opted to stay after his 1901 discharge and worked as a bookkeeper for a hardware and plumbing store.17 Not a few of the hundreds of young Americans with instructions to teach the Filipinos were also Jewish." ( Tirol, Jose Ma. Edito K. "The Japanese and the Jews in the Philippines during the Second World War," paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Philippine Studies - ICOPHIL. Quezon City, Philippines, 23-26 July 2008.) . But I think this guy is highly improbable because of time-frame. I am looking for an active Captain of the US military in 1946, so this guy is almost impossible.

However, in Lipetz article, describing the events during the 1945, he said that "they wore army uniforms and on their collars silver replicas of the tablets, Jews in uniform, on OUR side. I remember that among the first GI's to liberate us was one wearing a mezuzah on a chain around his neck."... "I remember a sense of caring by the Jewish GIs and how surprised many of them were that there were Jewish civilians in Manila".

There was a Jewish synagogue named Temple Emil at the corner of Taft Avenue and Quirino Avenue. It was destroyed during the WW2 when the Americans landed over Japanese occupation of Manila, and later rebult in 1947. According to Hayden Katz, "Temple Emil were from Germany, Austria, America, Russia and the Middle East". Probably my possible grandpa worshiped in that synagogue. I recently tried to visit the area because it is very near my manila residence (a 5 minute walk away), but Temple Emil could no longer be found. Bystanders told me that the Jewish Temple moved to Makati and it is no longer called Temple Emil.

According to Jonathan Goldstein, "In the spring and summer of 1945 the war-ravaged Manila Jewish community reorganized and, with the help of American servicemen, raised $15,000 to rebuild the synagogue which had been devastated in the February 1945 Battle of Manila. Simultaneously four American Jewish servicemen organized a “Kvutsa chaverim” [Hebrew: group of friends], for the Jewish youth of Manila. The chaverim discussed the situation in Palestine and studied modern Hebrew. In 1947 members of the community who were close to postwar Philippine President Manuel A. Roxas were instrumental, along with key advisors to U.S. President Harry Truman, in convincing the Philippine delegation to the United Nations to vote in favor of the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish territories... The Philippines thus became the only Asian nation to vote for Israeli independence. It was also among the first to establish diplomatic relations with Israel."



* Singapore, Manila, and HarbinAs Reference Points for Asian ‘Port Jewish‘ Identity. Jonathan Goldstein

1 comment:

Mikayla said...

My mother's grandmother's side consisted of Jews fleeing Spain during the inquisition.. While in Europe she married an ashkenazi and they lived here in the Philippines.

Though more relevant to your story,
My maternal grandfather was a Jewish German officer who fled to the Philippines to wash his hands of the holocaust. He ended up fighting in the guerrillas with the locals and from that he attained American citizenship.

My paternal grandfather was an Ashkenazi Jew who bribed an officer with a ring so he could escape the concentration camp. He also fled to the Philippines and married my half-Azeri grandmother.

I just wanted to give you some stories from my family to help you better imagine the possibilities for your family.