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Adolphe Levy

German: Adolf Levy, Spanish: Adolfo Levy y Blum, Filipino: Adolfo Blum Levy, Hebrew: אדולף לוי
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Marckolsheim, Bas-Rhin, Grand Est, France
Death: June 13, 1888 (38)
Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines (Cholera)
Place of Burial: Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
Immediate Family:

Son of Nathan dit Moïse Lévy and Louise Lévy
Husband of Benita Levy and Irma Heymann
Father of Francisco Enriquez Levy and Mercedes Levy
Brother of Jacques Levy; Mélanie Heimendinger; Marie "Mathilde" Lévy; Charles Levy; Sarah Blum and 2 others

Occupation: Merchant / Marchand
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Adolphe Levy

Adolphe Levy is the eldest of brothers who fled Alsace, France, after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 for the United States. They established the widely successful merchandising enterprise La Estrella del Norte. Their company, Levy Hermanos, was active in watchmaking and jewelry retail, established branches in Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, and Paris. While his brothers' families eventually returned to the United States and France, Adolphe's descendants stayed in the Philippines.

Resources

  • Abad, Levy. "The First Jews In The Philippines." Manitoba Filipino Journal, 9 November 2015. http://bit.ly/2IgwySB. Retrieved: 4 June 2019.
  • Gopal, Lou. "La Estrella Del Norte On The Escolta." Manila Nostalgia. 4 November 2014. http://bit.ly/2HUgM0w. Retrieved: 5 June 2019.

After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the brothers Adolphe and Charles Levy fled Alsace with a stash of diamonds. They ultimately found refuge in the islands with five crates of religious medals, statues, gold chains, and gilt eyeglass frames which they had been unable to sell in California. In 1873 they established a jewelry store, and then a general merchandising business, Estrella del Norte, in Iloilo on Panay Island.

Their business expanded to Manila,. It broadened its sales from trinkets and general merchandise to pharmaceuticals, bicycles and ultimately automobiles. By 1898, when the United States took the Philippines from Spain, the Levys had been joined by Turkish, Syrian, and Egyptian Jews, creating a multi-ethnic community of approximately fifty individuals. A relative, Charles Weil, took over management of the Manila business after Adolphe’s death in 1889 (1888 in Adolphe’s tombstone).

Adolphe Levy married Benita Enríquez and Have a son named Francisco Levy.


Escape to Manila: From Nazi Tyranny to Japanese Terror By: Frank Ephraim

The Suez Canal opened on March 17, 1869, three and a half centuries after Magellan’s discovery. That event brought a more direct trading link between Europe and the Philippines, allowing traders to exchange manufactured goods in exchange for raw materials. The first Jews to land in the Phillipines, two young brothers, Adolphe and Charles Levy, arrived in manila in 1873 after a six-month journey from San Francisco aboard a sailing vessel. The levy brothers brought five crates of religious medals, statues, gold chains, and gilt eyeglass frames that they had been unable to sell in California. Catholic Manila was the perfect market for these goods. Their first store was in Iloilo, on Panay Island, where the population thrived on the sale of sugarcane. Calling the store Estrella del Norte, they later added Levy hermanos (Levy Brothers) to the name. In the late 1870s thay expanded their trading business, and Charles opened what became the main office in Escolta, the central business street in manila. There they sold jewelry, diamonds, gold watches, bicycles, and other electric goods--- mimicking the business of Asian traders.

            
                  

Weil, a gourmet, established a dining room for his employees above the store in Manila, and important visitors sought invitations to what the local people called the “European French Jewish eating place.” One day, the acting archbishop of Manila, Eugenio Netter, made known his desire to dine at this famed table and was asked to join Charles Weil. The date fell on a Friday. Archbishop Netter joined the diners in the Sabbath prayers---in Hebrew---later explaining that he came from a poor Jewish family in Alsace. He had converted to Catholicism and became a priest but had not forgotten his heritage. He thoroughly enjoyed the evening with his Jewish companions. Toward the end of the nineteenth century only a handful of Jews had settled in the Philippines, living precariously under Spanish rule but managing to prosper. There was no Jewish community yet; the Levys tended to quietly support the Filipino quest for sovereignty, hoping it would bring about more religious freedom. In fact, Adolphe and Charles Levy befriended Jose Rizal and were supportive of his views.

Birth

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Adolphe Levy's Timeline

1849
December 8, 1849
Marckolsheim, Bas-Rhin, Grand Est, France
1883
May 13, 1883
Iloilo City, Western Visayas, Philippines
1888
June 13, 1888
Age 38
Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
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Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines