In around 1992 I met an elderly gentleman Dr. Herbert Zipper, who had been a Jewish composer-conductor in Germany in the 1930s when Hitler was chancellor. Zipper was picked up and sent to Dachau where he organized an orchestra that gave clandestine concerts from an abandoned latrine. He was released from Buchenwald and he went to Manila to reunite and marry the love of his life Trudl Dubsky. Zipper became the conductor of the Manila Symphony Orchestra.
When the Japanese invaded Manila, he was interrogated and held prisoner for five months. Upon his release, he worked for the underground. A few weeks after Manila’s Liberation he held the famous orchestra on the ruins of Manila.
I met him in the 1990s because he was looking for a publisher for his wife’s World War Two watercolor caricatures. A big publisher had accepted the work for publication in 1964–65 but backed out for what seemed to be political reasons. Crossroads School went on to publish Trudl Dubsky Zipper’s book.
I’ve been watching World War Two documentaries and just realized what a privilege that was to meet Dr. Zipper.
Further, I felt proud that the Philippines had provided refuge to some 1,200 Jews just prior to the brunt of World War Two, the Zippers among them.
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