The Blog

Rep. Tom Lantos, 1928-2008

12:43 PM, Feb 11, 2008 • By SAMANTHA SAULT
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The AP reported that Rep. Tom Lantos from California died this morning at age 80. Lantos "twice escaped from a Nazi-run forced labor camp in Hungary and became the only Holocaust survivor to win a seat in Congress."

Lantos became chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in January 2007, and "disclosed last month that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. He said at the time that he would serve out his 14th term but would not seek re-election." The San Francisco Chronicle then quoted Lantos as saying, "It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a member of Congress...I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country."

With his death, public officals like Senator Lieberman are praising Lantos: "Tom Lantos was deeply dedicated to the promotion of freedom and human rights because he intimately knew the horror of tyranny. Congressman Lantos was an effective and tireless ally of all those throughout the world who were struggling to achieve liberty and justice. The heroic life of Tom Lantos is an inspiration to all of us who must rededicate ourselves to continue his profound and lasting legacy."

Time's Swampland blog has more on Lantos's inspiring life story.