Hungarian Abstract/Magyar kivonat: Tom Lantos, amerikai kongresszusi képviselő bejelentette, hogy az év végén visszavonul az aktív politikából 27 éves karrierje után. A 80 éves magyar származású demokrata párti képviselő haladó politikát folytatott a társadalmi kérdésekben. Támogatta az azonosnemű házasságot, a kisebbségi jogokat, a marihuana legalizációját és az abortuszt. Lantos a napokban jelentette be, hogy nem indul a novemberi választáson, mivel orvosai nyelőcsőrákot fedeztek fel nála.
Tom Lantos, the Hungarian-born veteran US congressman, has announced that he will not seek re-election later this year, following 27 years in office, after having been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. The Democratic member of the House of Representatives has been known as an outspoken proponent of progressive social issues, including same-sex marriage, the decriminalization of marijuana for medical purposes, abortion rights and civil liberties. As a congressman, Mr. Lantos voted in favour of stronger hate crime legislation and has been a prominent critic of foreign governments that turn a blind eye to human rights violations. The congressman’s record on defence and security issues, however, is mixed. Lantos supported the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and stood by President George W. Bush’s administration at the start of the Iraq War in 2003, along with many other prominent Democrats.
Although Mr. Lantos only became a Member of the US Congress in 1981, his experience in political issues stretches back all the way to the Second World War. Mr. Lantos was born into a middle-class Jewish family. At age 17, he participated in the Hungarian resistance movement, after having escaped from a forced labour camp in rural Hungary. While in Budapest during the final months of the war, the young Mr. Lantos lived with an aunt in a safe house sponsored by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. Dressed in an inconspicuous cadet’s uniform, Mr. Lantos travelled around Budapest providing other Hungarian Jews in safe houses with basic food and medical supplies.
Mr. Lantos immigrated to the US in 1947, after receiving a university scholarship and completed both a BA and an MA degree. He eventually moved to the San Francisco area, where he completed a PhD in economics at Berkeley and later served as a lecturer at San Francisco State University.
Mr. Lantos seems to present his life story as the explemplification of the ‘American Dream.’ The veteran congressman observed that “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.”
Upon his election to the House of Representatives, Mr. Lantos made history by becoming the first Holocaust survivor ever to serve as a US congressman.
Canadian Hungarian Journal