January 30, 2008

US Congressman and Wallenberg Foundation co-founder Tom Lantos at the United Nations

In the speech, delivered in the UN Monday night on Lantos’s behalf by his daughter Dr. Katrina Lantos-Swett, the congressman said that it was the responsibility of the entire international community to prevent another Holocaust and to keep the memory of those who perished alive as Israel faces constant threats to its survival.

”Just as an earlier dictator pledged to destroy the Jews of Europe, so a new one is threatening to destroy the Jewish State,” he said.

Lantos lamented the fact that the UN chamber was too often the setting for ”shameless invective against Israel,” adding that he was ”deeply grateful for the numerous principled statesmen of many lands who regularly stand up against this outrage.”

The congressman, whose mother was killed in Auschwitz, said that having experienced the horrors of the Holocaust firsthand, the Durban conference was the ”most sickening and unabashed” display of hate for Jews he had seen since the Nazi period.

Lantos paid tribute to Raoul Wallenberg, whom he said his father owed his life to for rescuing him and other Jews during the Nazi occupation of Budapest.

”He had little in common with them: he was a Lutheran, they were Jewish; he was a Swede, they were Hungarians. And yet with inspired courage and creativity he saved the lives of tens of thousands of men, women and children by placing them under the protection of the Swedish crown,” he said.

Harry Kichel, Wallenberg Foundation New York branch COO, attended the ceremony