Saperstein: Lantos’ “accomplishments will be long remembered not only in this country, but by men and women struggling for freedom around the world”
WASHINGTON, D.C., FEBRUARY 11, 2008 -- In response to the death of Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in the U.S. Congress, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center, issued the following statement:
Representative Tom Lantos was a visionary leader whose personal story demonstrated so much of what is powerful about our county, and whose legislative accomplishments will be long remembered not only in this country, but by men and women struggling for freedom around the world. His particular passion for securing human rights for all the oppressed and persecuted across the globe left an indelible mark on U.S. foreign policy and international affairs.
From the ashes of the Shoah, Lantos came to America and brought with him the fighting spirit that he embodied during World War II as part of the underground resistance movement trying to defeat the Nazis. He immigrated to America and fought to build a life for himself and his family.
Congressman Lantos served his country proudly and helped to project the image of a vibrant, engaged Judaism in America, a Judaism that would not succumb to the destruction of Hitler but would reaffirm our tradition as a religion pursuing the cause of justice for all peoples. How often did his powerful words carry the day on a critical issue!
I join not only with the Jewish community but with all Americans in mourning the loss of this great man and leader. As we mourn his death, our thoughts, prayers, and deepest condolences are with the entire Lantos family, especially his partner in life and in so much of his wok, his wife Annette Lantos.
May his memory always be a blessing and may his legacy be our renewed commitment to fight for the cause of justice that he worked so hard for in his life.