About Gladys Savary

About the author: Gladys Savary (June 2, 1893 — September 14, 1985), born Gladys Becker Slaughter. An endnote in Angels of the Underground: The American Women who Resisted the Japanese in the Philippines in World War II by Theresa Kaminski, states that, “An article in the Oakland Tribune from January 22, 1912, suggests that Gladys Slaughter may have attended UC Berkeley, and an article in an Oshkosh, Wisconsin paper from 1919 mentioned she was visiting from Chicago.”

She later married a French engineer, Savary (another endnote in Kaminski’s book has an unpublished citation of the Savarys having divorced, but states that the Gladys Savary “never acknowledged it in her book.” Yet another endnote states that Gladys Savary’s “second marriage took place on March 22, 1941”). She ran a French restaurant, the Restaurant de Paris, which was popular in prewar Manila.

Because of her being married to a French national, she was not interned by the Japanese with Allied civilians in Manila. As the WW2 podcast, in a review of Kaminski’s book, noted,

Gladys Savary had married a Frenchmen, though they had separated, he returned to Europe with the onset of war. She was still in Manilla when it fell. Claiming French citizenship, through her husband, she avoided the round up of American nationals.

The Japanese eventually took over her restaurant but she found ways to help. Working for the Neutral Welfare Committee, organised by the Swedish Consul, they were allowed to provide educational & recreational items for POWs but not food. Gladys organised bean bags to be sent to the troops for their recreation, she had then filled with kidney and mung beans to help supplement their diet.

After the war, she established a restaurant in California that included Filipino dishes in the menu.

About the diary: The author maintained a diary throughout the wartime years, and it became the basis of her book, Outside the Walls, Vantage Press, New York, 1954. The book reproduced many entries and it is these entries that are included in The Philippine Diary Project. An endnote in Angels of the Underground: The American Women who Resisted the Japanese in the Philippines in World War II by Theresa Kaminski states that “The original diary has not surfaced, though Gladys transcribed portions of it into her memoir.”