WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this morning regarding the passing of Congressman Tom Lantos, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee:
“I was deeply and profoundly saddened to learn today of the passing of my very good friend and colleague, Representative Tom Lantos of California, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the only Holocaust survivor to ever serve in the U.S. Congress.
“Quite simply, Tom Lantos was a great man, a great American patriot, and a great humanitarian, whose remarkable life – as a Holocaust survivor, as a professor, as a Member of Congress, and as the proud founder of the Human Rights Caucus – serves as an inspiration to all of us and as a reminder of the indomitable human spirit.
“As a teenager, Tom was a member of the anti-Nazi underground when Germany occupied his native Hungary, and then and for the remainder of his life he was an indefatigable advocate for human rights and for basic decency. Chairman Lantos continually fought for those who were too often ignored by the international community -- not only because he had experienced great suffering in his own life but because of his fervent belief that tyranny must be confronted and defeated. Tom worked to ensure that the victims of the Holocaust would never be forgotten and that this darkest chapter in human history would never be repeated. Indeed, the world’s poor and oppressed have lost a heroic advocate with his passing.
“In Congress, Tom earned the respect and admiration of Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle for his knowledge and understanding of complex international issues. While Tom’s legacy will long endure on the issues of foreign policy and human rights, he also was a leader on environmental protection, and energy and education policy.
“At this difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with Tom’s wonderful wife of nearly 58 years, Annette, their two daughters, Annette and Katrina, their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren and all his family and many friends.”