Monday, January 17, 2022

Remembering Dr. Herbert Zipper World War II Survivor


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 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.

tags: #WorldWarTwo #WWII #Manilasymphonyorchestra #Manilaners , Jews in Philippines 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

In Memoriam F. Sionil Jose Philippine National Artist for Literature


Author Cecilia Manguerra Brainard writes a tribute for Philippine National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose who passed away last January 7, 2022: 

The article also appeared in Sunstar Cebu with more pictures:


 "After several years of not seeing Frankie Jose, I met him again in Cebu in 2013 at the opening of the musical production of his short story “Progress.” Hendri Go was the man behind the show about an unappreciated government clerk. Hendri had invited me to the musical.

The program went well, and afterwards, I went up to greet Frankie. I was feeling a bit guilty because I had not seen him nor Tessie for well over a decade, and indeed the first thing he said, was something like, “Where have you been?”

I had launched my first two books at Solidaridad, the iconic bookshop owned by Frankie and his wife Tessie. The first launch in 1988 (for Woman with Horns and Other Stories) had been arranged by Cebuana writer Lina Espina Moore, who had taken me under her wing. In 1991, I also launched the Philippine edition of my first novel, Song of Yvonne (aka When the Rainbow Goddess Wept) at Solidaridad; I recall that was the day Mt. Pinatubo had exploded, so the evening had a strange and memorable quality with fine dust falling outdoors and blanketing streets and cars. Despite the volcanic eruption, the top floor of Solidaridad where the launch was held was packed; events at Solidaridad were always somewhat bohemian, cultured, and exhilarating.

I was surprised that he and Tessie cared whether I visited them or not, given how busy they were. The two of them were like royalty amongst Manila’s literati and intelligentsia; and they had numerous events and people to see. Aside from that, they had Solidaridad to run; they published books; Frankie headed PEN Manila. By this time, Frankie had authored some thirty books, with his five-book Rosales Saga novels published and translated by big international publishers. He had a string of awards including the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Cultural Center of the Philippine Centennial Award, the Chevalier dans O’order des Arts et Letters, Pablo Neruda Centennial Award, and the National Artist for Literature...." 
Read on in the Yahoo link please. 

Tags: Philippine literature, Filipino literature, Filipino authors, Philippine authors, Filipino novelists, In memoriam, Tribute 

Monday, January 10, 2022

F. Sionil Jose's Article about Cebu and Cebuanos - Hail, Cebu


l-r:  F. Sionil Jose, Cecilia Brainard, Tessie Jose, photo taken 2013

I read this for the first time. I am deeply touched. I did not know that National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose had written about me in his Hindsight Column, September 7, 2014.

"The café is also a meeting place of the Cebu culturati and it was there where I met again old acquaintances like Resil Mojares and Cecilia Manguerra Brainard.
"Cecilia dropped by recently for a tête-à-tête. An excerpt of her next novel was published by Joel Pablo Salud in his Graphic magazine but she did not know about it so I gave her a copy. The novel — her third — is a fictionalized account of a real event: a murder that has haunted her. It is also a story of the violence and conspiracy that happens in the best of families. She is writing it, she said, like a mystery novel and it was at this point that we talked about the narrative — how so many writers, in their attempt to be original, have abandoned the narrative for flashy and fractured prose which soon numbs the reader who then stops reading. I shared with her this thinking: the narrative is what grabs the reader and compels him to read to the very end. How often have I dropped a book, lovingly reviewed by other writers, adorned with obtuse prose and technique but so wanting in tension, I got bored. Cecile belongs to that special tribe of Cebuanos, rooted in the land and writing about it..."

Please read the entire article about Cebu and Cebuanos here:

 tags: Philippine literature, Filipino literature, Filipino writers, Cebuano writers

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Rest in Peace, F. Sionil Jose Philippine National Artist in Literature


Photo taken August 2016 at Solidaridad, l-r: F. Tessie Jose, F. Sionil Jose, Cecilia Brainard

 From the Varsitarian, UP:  BREAKING: National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose has passed away.

Jose, 97, died in his sleep Thursday evening at the Makati Medical Center where he was supposed to undergo an angioplasty Friday, Jan. 7, according to his wife, Tessie Jovellanos Jose.

I just learned about Frankie Jose's passing and am still processing this. I feel really really sad. Instead of trying to put words into my sorrow now, I'm posting some joyful pictures with him. Rest in peace, Frankie! My sincerest condolences to his wife Tessie, their children, Cesar, and the other Solidaridad staff, and all those whom he mentored and supported who are now feeling deep grief. ~ Cecilia Brainard

July 6, 2019 book launch of When the Rainbow Goddess Wept at Solidaridad, with l-r: standing: Tillic Lorayes, Cynthia Posa, Virgilio Reyes Jr., Cecilia Brainard, Paulo Angelo Lopez Apolinar, Charlson Ong ; Seated l-r: Nelson Navarro F. Sionil Jose, Amado Ma. Guerrero.

Photo taken June 24, 2017, book launch for Brainard's novels Magdalena and The Newspaper Widow: seated l-r: Paul Matcott, Cecilia Brainard, National Artist F. Sionil Jose; stand l-r r: Brenda Matcott, Cynthia Posa Maribel Paraz, Lynley Ocampo.