Classmates - Rancho La Puerta
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Week of February 17, 2024

Can’t We All Just Get Along?
During the days leading up to World War II, five Cincinnati cigar makers in Manila played poker with President Quezon and High Commissioner McNutt. They developed a plan to help about 1300 Jews from Austria and Germany escape to the Philippines.

As a result, I came to be born there during the Japanese occupation and attended the American School with a multicultural group of classmates. Despite very different backgrounds and ethnicities we accepted one another for who we were. My book CLASSMATES tells our growing-up stories and how our lives were profoundly affected by this experience.

Documentary Film: Rescue in the Philippines
How the Cincinnati cigar makers, Philippine President Quezon and High commissioner Mc Nutt devised an intricate plan over the poker table to rescue 1300 Jews from certain death in Nazi concentration camps.

The Book Classmates
Introduction to the book and how my parents managed to escape Vienna and were saved against all odds through this ingenious rescue plan.

Surviving the War
The Japanese occupation and how my Manila-born classmates and I survived the war as babies. Our early childhood post war and some grade school memories at the American School.

How We All Got Along
The backgrounds of four very different American kids who joined the American School in junior high and had to adjust to a completely new culture. What those teenage years were like and how, despite the diversity, we all got along. That strong bond still exists today after more than sixty years. We reflect on who we are now and what it all meant.

Manila Ravaged in WW II pp 10-13
Suggested ReadingViewing.pages


Mary Brings Farquhar is a retired San Francisco Foreign Language teacher, who received the Outstanding German Educator Award in 1998. Mary has been a co-presenter at Apple’s MacWorld Expo in San Francisco and New York, where the topic was compiling and digitizing personal history stories, much like what she did here for the American School “family” of CLASSMATES. She appears in two documentaries about the Philippine rescue plan for Holocaust victims, Rescue in the Philippines and An Open Door, and has presented this little-known story to national and international audiences.