Tuesday, 12 February 2008
Tom Lantos died yesterday morning. He was the only holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.
He was born in Budapest, Hungary in February 1928. At the age of 16 he saw the Nazis sweep into Budapest, and was rounded up with other Jews and sent to a concentation camp in Szob, a village to the north of Budapest. He escaped twice, and continued to live in Budapest disguised as a military cadet. He acquired food and delivered it to Jews in other safe houses. After the war he searched for the rest of his family, but thet had all perished.
In 1946 he won a scholarship to the United States, eventually becoming an Economics professor. Elected to Congress in 1980 he served 14 terms. Representative Lantos took a keen interest in foreign affairs (he had previously been a television expert on the subject and had been adviser to Senator Joe Biden) - and was particularly concerned about Human Rights. He was the co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. In the 110th Congress he was Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/)
His House of Representatives website is http://www.lantos.house.gov/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
Obituaries can be found at:
New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/washington/12lantos.html?_r=1&ex=1360558800&en=3dbc24456862e960&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&oref=slogin
Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/wire/sns-ap-obit-lantos,1,7640656.story?ctrack=2&cset=true
San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/11/MNIDV09VH.DTL