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Tom Lantos (right) is congratulated
by board member Phil Friedman.

Coming To America
With A Single Salami

By Nina and Tim Boxer

OM LANTOS, whose life was saved in Budapest thanks to Raul Wallenberg, has no doubt that the current scourge of terrorism will end just like the Holocaust did.

“The end of the movie will be the defeat of terrorism,” the congressman said at a dinner of the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center at the Grand Hyatt in New York.

“The war against Saddam Hussein is the first move in President George W. Bush’s vision of a world without dictatorships. No one could have been sure that Hitler wouldn’t win, or Stalin wouldn’t win. But we all can be sure that Osama bin Laden will not win.”

Lantos, 75, came to the U.S. in 1947 with not a penny in his pocket, except for a single salami—which was confiscated by Customs. And now he’s in his 12th year as a Democratic representative from California.

Menno Ratzker, president of the American Committee, presented awards to Lantos, Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, Dr. David Kelsen, Al H. Sutton and Tova Leidesdorf. With almost 600 people in attendance, the dinner raised a record-breaking one million dollars for the hospital in Jerusalem.

Al Sutton (l-r), with fellow honorees
Tova Leidesdorf, Rabbi Shmuel Goldin and
Dr. David Kelsen

Speaking of her illustrious family, Tova recalled her two husbands and their contribution to history.

“My first husband, Arthur Leidesdorf, told me how his father Sam helped establish Israel Bonds by personally guaranteeing $500 million to David Rockefeller.”

She asked Sam why he helped create the United Negro College Fund, the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, brought Albert Einstein to this country, and worked with Cardinal Spellman to bring Christians and Jews together.

“It takes a world to create people and people to create a world,” Sam answered. “We need to live together in harmony.”

Tova told about accompanying her second husband, Erwin Herling, on a visit to King Hussein at his palace in Jordan, where she said, “Look at the three of us. You are a Middle East king, Erwin is an Auschwitz survivor and I’m a sabra from Haifa. Yet we are sitting here like family and talking the same language. Shouldn’t we be able to have peace?”

“I would like nothing better,” Hussein replied. “If I am sick I would like to come to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem.”

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