The Bancroft Library will soon become the home of the political papers of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the House of Representatives, campus officials announced on Tuesday.
The political archive, which includes reports, briefings and memorabilia amassed from Lantos's 27 years and 14 terms in the House, most notably reflects his work in social justice, according to many of those who worked with Lantos.
Lantos, who died in February of this year, received a doctoral degree in economics from UC Berkeley in 1953 and served in Congress as a representative of both San Mateo and San Francisco.
Bancroft Library Director Charles Faulhaber said that Lantos's record in human rights is what prompted campus officials to approach Lantos's staff in January about how to acquire the papers. He added that many on campus believed the library should request the papers because they saw Lantos as "a great man" and "a significant human rights advocate."
Also: Statement of Human Rights Leadership Coalition on the Loss of Congressman Tom Lantos
In 1983, Congressman Lantos co-founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, to ensure every member of Congress had the opportunity to speak out on behalf of those whose voices were quelled and to shed a light in the face of darkness. Among the first acts was to adopt the cases of individual Soviet Jews, Pentecostals and dissidents targeted by the Soviet regime. Many were released.
During his final public remarks at the United Nations on January 28, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, recalling his participation in the Durban World Conference against Racism and Related Intolerance and calling for renewed efforts to combat anti-Semitism and intolerance in any form, Tom Lantos urged the assembled world leaders to: “…let us rededicate ourselves to stopping current tragedies such as the genocide in Darfur …and to preventing such inhuman cruelty in the future. We must remember that the veneer of civilization is paper thin. We are its guardians and we can never rest….”