WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. Tom Lantos, who as a teenager twice escaped from a Nazi-run forced labor camp in Hungary and became the only Holocaust survivor to win a seat in Congress, has died. He was 80.
Spokeswoman Lynne Weil said Lantos, a Californian, died early Monday at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center in suburban Maryland. He was surrounded by his wife, Annette, two daughters, and many of his 17 grandchildren and two gt portion of San Francisco and suburbs to the south including Lantos' home of San Mateo.
President Bush praised Lantos in a statement as "a man of character and a champion of human rights."
"After immigrating to America more than six decades ago, he worked to help oppressed people around the world have the opportunity to live in freedom,'' Bush said. ``As the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, Tom was a living reminder that we must never turn a blind eye to the suffering of the innocent at the hands of evil men."
Flags were lowered to half-staff at the White House and U.S. Capitol.
While it would be hard to characterize Tom Lantos as a moderate, he commanded a great deal of respect on both sides of the isle. And for good reason. He was a true gentleman, and a hero. And his memory will surely be for a blessing to us all.