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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tom Lantos 1928 - 2008

February 13, 2008

February 11, 2008

Congressman Tom Lantos a staunch friend and ally of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama and Tibet passed away February 11, 2008 morning. Tom
Lantos' life-long commitment to the promotion of human rights was a
beacon of the brightest integrity and hope for the Tibetan people and
all others seeking dignity and freedom in the face of oppression.

The announcement of the death of Tom Lantos issued by his office

Tom Lantos, 1928-2008
February 11, 2008

Washington, DC - Congressman Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo, San Francisco),
80, passed away this morning due to complications from cancer at
Bethesda Naval Medical Center.

Elected to office in 1980, Lantos was Chairman of the House Committee
on Foreign Affairs and one of the country's leading champions of human
rights.  His commitment to this issue was forged when, as a young man,
he lost nearly his entire family in the Holocaust.

Today he was surrounded by his wife, two daughters, and many of his 18
grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

After being diagnosed with esophageal cancer in late December, Lantos
announced on January 2 that he would not seek reelection.  He said at
the time, "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."

The only survivor of the Shoah ever elected to Congress, Tom Lantos
was in his 14th term.  His Democratic colleagues elected him chairman
of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in January 2007.  He was
also a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform.

Throughout his adult life Lantos sought to be a voice for human rights
and civil liberties.  He and Annette Lantos, his childhood sweetheart
and wife of nearly 58 years were, as Lantos put it, "full partners
both in Congress and in life," and they continued their work right up
to his final days. Tom Lantos was the founding co-chairman of the
24-year-old Congressional Human Rights Caucus, which Annette directed
as a volunteer since its inception.  He also founded the Congressional
Friends of Animals Caucus.

Annette said that her husband's life was "defined by courage,
optimism, and unwavering dedication to his principles and to his

The date for a public memorial service has not yet been set.
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