HIRAM ("HARRY") BINGHAM IV
AMERICAN RESCUER IN NAZI-OCCUPIED FRANCE
"DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN DIPLOMAT" on U.S. postage stamp
Webmaster, Robert Kim Bingham, Sr .
HIRAM BINGHAM IV MEDAL OF VALOR
Click the link SURVIVORS' TESTIMONIES to see testimonials by survivors whom Harry helped escape from Marseilles.
Book about Harry Bingham by his son:
Exciting book: COURAGEOUS DISSENT is the first book published about America's unsung diplomat hero Hiram (Harry) Bingham IV, the author's father, who was in charge of issuing visas to America and freedom while stationed as a US vice-consul in Marseilles, just before World War II. It captures Bingham's compelling story of placing humanity above his career during the early days of the Holocaust. >
Bingham defied his government's restrictive immigration policies by running an underground railroad out of his villa. Both Jewish and non-Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler sought life-saving visas from Bingham during 1940-41.
The book also reveals Bingham's private life after resigning from the Foreign Service in 1945 when he was passed over for promotions. It recounts the author's campaign to obtain a U.S. commemorative stamp bearing his father's image issued in 2006 depicting Bingham as a 'Distinguished American Diplomat.', and his posthumous awarding of the 'Constructive Dissent' award on June 27, 2002.
To Order :
read more at When Hope Was Gone
SUMMARY OF HIRAM BINGHAM IV STORY, BY AUTHOR (text of a talk given in Hawaii on August 30, 2010)
| MISSION OF THIS WEBSITE: To acquaint Americans with Hiram ("Harry") Bingham IV, WWII "Distinguished American Diplomat," who boldly rescued refugees from the Holocaust while serving in Marseilles, France. For names of refugees saved, see "Directory" below, Chapters 6 and 9. A note of caution: some newspaper articles have erroneously stated that Harry has been awarded the designation of 'Righteous Gentile' by the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, which he has not (he has only been nominated for this honor). Much is still in the research stage and we do our best to be accurate. Estmates of lives saved have ranged from 1000 to 2500+ but the number may never be known. Some grateful survivors are quoted below...
You can see their visas signed by my father if you click the link "SURVIVORS' TESTIMONIES".
See also the film The Rescuers: Heroes of the Holocaust (http://www.rescuersdoc.com/ ) by filmmaker Michael King, which features several diplomatic rescuers, including Harry.
ROBERT KIM BINGHAM, ESQ.
The first-day-of-issue ceremony was held at the Washington, DC Convention Center on May 30, 2006.
Colin Powell meets with Honored WWII Diplomat's families, State Department, October 28, 2003
Colin Powell meets Abigail Endicott and Robert Kim Bingham to honor their father Hiram Bingham IV, at the "Visas For Life" Reception, State Department, October 28, 2003
In this September 18, 1940 telegram to the American Embassy in Vichy, France, Secretary of State Cordell Hull condemned the "activities as reported of Dr. Bohn and Mr. Fry and other persons, however well-meaning their motives may be." (Harry was conducting underground rescue efforts in Marseilles with Bohn and Fry at the time.) Harry was subsequently transferred to Buenos Aires where he was passed over for promotions and resigned from the Foreign Service in 1946.
... THANK YOU FOR VISITING US! +Go to Directory & Links Below+THIS WEBSITE IS UPDATED PERIODICALLY
|MISSION OF THIS WEBSITE||SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE FEATURE ARTICLE|
|WELCOME TO THIS WEBSITE||DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE|
|HARRY'S DRAMATIC STORY||ROUND-UP OF SELECTED QUOTES|
|HIRAM BINGHAM STAMP APPROVED!||FIRST DAY OF ISSUE NEWS|
|Early Responses from Postal Service to HBIV Stamp Supporters||Museum Curator's Letter of Support for HBIV Stamp|
|NEWS||HARRY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY MESSAGES RECEIVED|
|SURVIVORS' TESTIMONIES||Writers' Quotes|
|Early Tributes to Harry||OTHER SUPPORTERS|
|Harry's Story Told by the Yad Vashem's 1998 Exhibit||History Channel film Diplomats for the Damned|
|POSTHUMOUS AWARD AT STATE DEPARTMENT AFSA --AWARDED BY COLIN POWELL||DEDICATION OF CONNECTICUT STATE MANUAL TO HARRY BY SECRETARY OF THE STATE|
|U.N. Honors Harry as Righteous Diplomat||Browse Bingham's historic photos at US Holocaust Museum|
|New York Times Op/Ed - Diplomat's Quiet Battle||Washington Post: "Heroism Beyond Diplomacy"|
|FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL: HARRY COVER STORY||'HARRY'S FRIENDS' - RECOUNTED BY 1998 YAD VASHEM EXHIBIT|
|Harry Pictured With Marc Chagall Before Escape-Rare Photo||DEARLY LOVED FATHER-IN-LAW|
|REMEMBERING SALEM'S SCHINDLER BY SON ROBERT KIM BINGHAM||Hiram Bingham III's Moral Compass. Hartford Courant 31 May 2014|
WELCOME TO THIS WEBSITE! We hope you'll AGREE that Hiram ("Harry") Bingham IV deserves to be honored by a U.S. POSTAGE STAMP that brings his compelling story to all Americans -- beyond his home state of Connecticut, where the governor proclaimed "Hiram Bingham IV Day" in April 2000, 2001 and 2002; the Connecticut state legislature UNANIMOUSLY endorsed the HBIV stamp proposal; and the Secretary of State dedicated the 2001 state Register and Manual ("Blue Book") to Harry. Hiram Bingham IV, of Salem, Connecticut (who is the son of Hiram Bingham III, the explorer who discovered Machu Picchu in Peru in 1911) died in 1988 at age 84. When he was the US vice consul in Marseilles, France from 1939 to 1941, he boldly defied State Department policy by writing visas for those fleeing the Holocaust, by hiding refugees in his diplomatic residence who were most wanted by Hitler, and by coordinating daring escapes to other countries from Southern France. Harry helped rescue renowned painter Marc Chagall, whose 'Glass Windows' are shown in this website (see DIRECTORY links below), anti-Nazi author Leon Feuchtwanger, Nobel Prize physicist Otto Meyerhof, and ordinary refugees. This webpage attests to wide support for the HBIV stamp from distinguished citizens, newspapers, lawmakers, museums, national organizations, and ordinary Americans. Harry's story is continually retold by the History Channel (see "History Under Cover - Diplomats for the Damned"), and by a world-traveling "Visas for Life" exhibit, which features several WWII "righteous diplomats" and has been exhibited by the UNITED NATIONS at both New York and Geneva. Museums around the world have sponsored the exhibit. Not surprisingly, the stamp proposal has received broad BIPARTISAN SUPPORT in the Congress ("from Senator Kennedy to [then] Senator John Ashcroft"). On June 27, 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell praised Harry's actions and presented a posthumous "constructive dissent" award to Harry's children at an American Foreign Service Officers Association awards ceremony at the State Department Headquarters. This was a welcome FIRST TIME official U.S. recognition of Harry's life-saving activity, 62 years after his defiance of department policy. Accordingly, the courageous stand taken by this UNITED STATES PUBLIC SERVANT during the nightmare of the Holocaust, who is now an international hero, justifies a commemorative stamp. Thank you for visiting this Hiram Bingham IV website (see ROUND-UP OF SELECTED QUOTES, followed by DIRECTORY links, below). Sincerely,
Robert Kim Bingham, Esq., website administrator & stamp-drive coordinator
ROSE & HARRY as NEWLY WEDS
Circa 1934. They were devoted to each other and had eleven children. Harry died in 1988. Rose, a valiant wife whose abundant love of life and humankind greatly inspired him throughout their 53-year marriage, died eight years later in 1996.
SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL (who granted a posthumous award to Harry's children): "This proud tradition of service has deep roots in American history and in the Foreign Service. Later in today's ceremony, we'll be honoring the memory of Harry Bingham, IV, a US Vice Consul in Marseilles who risked his life and his career, put it on the line, to help over 2,500 Jews and others who were on Nazi death lists to leave France for America in 1940 and 1941. I am especially, especially honored and pleased to welcome here today in the audience two people who owe their lives to Harry Bingham's "visas of freedom," two people who got out because Harry was prepared to take that risk to career to do that which he knew was right. Would Mrs. Lillian Stuart Smith and Mr. Pierre Shostal please rise so we can recognize them. I think they're here. (Applause.) Where are they? We've lost them. They're somewhere. (Applause.) And a number of Harry Bingham's 11 children are also here today and will accept an award on behalf of their father in a moment." (Speech at ceremony honoring diplomats, State Department, June 27, 2002.) The Washington Post further reported that Powell praised this "special constructive dissent award that went posthumously to Hiram Bingham IV, who defied State Department policy during World War II by surreptitiously issuing...visas to Jews desperate to flee Nazism...Powell called Bingham a diplomat 'who risked his life and his career' to do the right thing. Thomas Pickering, a seven-time ambassador who received an award yesterday for contributions to U.S. diplomacy, also paid homage to Bingham's 'creative integrity.'" Washington Post 6/28/02.
UN SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN: "Some famous, others known to just a few, they make up a gallery of courageous individuals who, in the face of an inhuman force that was destroying lives and societies alike, took enormous personal risks to rescue Jews and others facing persecution and peril. They were true heroes; indeed, they were among the foremost human rights defenders of their day." Speech at "Visas for Life:The Righteous Diplomats" exhibit (which included Harry) at the UN, NY, 4/3/00. CONGRESSMAN TOM LANTOS (a Holocaust survivor): “Hiram Bingham's courage is an inspiration to us all. In an age when too many chose to ignore the plight of the persecuted, he became directly engaged in their cause at significant risk to himself. It is said that whoever saves one life saves the world. Humanity owes Hiram Bingham its admiration for the example he provided in saving the world many thousands of times over.” Speech at Capitol Hill Celebration in Honor of the Hiram Bingham IV U.S. Postage Stamp (May 24, 2006). U.S. HOLOCAUST MUSEUM: "Hiram Bingham IV acted above and beyond his normal duties and instruction to extend assistance to Jewish and other refugees in Marseilles and to help them immigrate to the United States. Bingham issued many visas to persons who did not meet the strict requirements of the Visa Division of the Department of State, especially as spelled out in the Long directive to consuls of June 26, 1940 and the obstacles placed by the Bloom-Van Nys Act of 1941. In providing shelter to refugees, he was also on violation of Vichy Law. At the time of Bingham's service in Marseilles, the Vichy government had full diplomatic relations with the United States." Arthur S. Berger, Director of Communication, United States Holocaust Museum, letter to A. B. Endicott, 2/26/04. WASHINGTON POST: "Harry Bingham...became an extraordinary unsung hero of the American diplomatic corps. Bingham jeopardized both his career and his life in the early years of World War II to help rescue [ ] Jews and anti-Nazi activists while he was stationed in Marseilles, France. For this work in the years 1939-41, he was reassigned...and held back professionally through the rest of his career." Ilene Pachman Op/Ed 7/28/01. NEW YORK TIMES: "Bingham is remarkable because he was willing to respond to orders from the State Department -- orders that went against his grain -- appropriately,'' said Susan Morgenstein, consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Ms. Morgenstein is a consultant who was hired by the Holocaust Museum to be curator for the Fry exhibition. ''In the south of France, Mr. Bingham responded in his own humane and righteous way for the good of our nation perhaps at a time when his superiors were giving orders that went against that good land we should be,'' she said. ''He can be credited for going with his instincts for good, and against what he knew was ill-intentioned.'' Excerpt from A Diplomat's Quiet Battle To Rescue Jews Emerges by Maura Casey, July 11, 1999, Connecticut Weekly Desk, Saturday Connecticut Edition of the New York Times.
HIRAM (HARRY) BINGHAM IV's QUOTES :
From his notes regarding a 1925 Yale Ethics course:
From his March 25, 1925 course notes:
and from his March 27, 1925 notes:
More interesting quotes by Harry as well as Varian Fry and his assistants can be read here.
Some wonderful emails were received on Harry's 100th Birthday (July 17, 2003), and we thank you:
"Ralph M. Hockley" wrote:Dear Kim Bingham,From the Pacific Northwest where my wife and I are traveling, please receive our sincere wishes on the occasion of your father's 100th Birthday. Please relay to your family on this important occasion of celebration of your father's life, my family's eternal thanks for what Hiram Bingham did in 1940-1941. I have just explained to my sister's 19 year old grandson that without your father, he probably would never have been born. What more can I say?
Sincere greetings from
"Eric Saul," Simon Wiesanthal Center, wrote:Subject: Happy 100th Birthday Harry!
Pierre Shostal wrote:
"With warm wishes,
GREETINGS FROM RETIRED EPISCOPAL BISHOP: "[I wish] to express my deep admiration for the courage and faith which your father, Kim, showed when serving in Marseilles during the darkest days of the second world War. On this hundredth anniversary of his birth, I rejoice that an Episcopalian with ties to Salem offered so bold a witness when others stood by and did nothing. You know at first hand from the families involved how his actions gave life and hope back to countless persecuted Jews. It has been my privilege to preach about your remarkable father/father-in-law, and one of these days I would like to see him included in the Calendar of the Episcopal Church as testimony to what faithfulness in daily life can mean, and what one person can achieve on behalf of others. Praise God on this special day! Jeffrey."
Inscription in book received in January 2009 from Lawrence Bodner, author of From Wien to America, The Tortured Journey of Jacques Bodner, whose father, Jacques Bodner, received a visa (see below) from Harry Bingham on February 27, 1940.
Here is an excerpt from his book, From Wien to America, The Tortured Journey of Jacques Bodner:
Jacques Bodner's visa (below) issued by Hiram Bingham IV on February 27, 1940
Harry issued the above visa to Helene Ginsburg on 12 September 1940. Her daughter Jane Friedman emailed the testimonial below in November 2013.
Letter from survivor Fred Altmann
SON OF SURVIVOR:"Dear Mr. Bingham: I have read quite a few articles about your father and they all appear to say that your father's visa activities started in June, 1940 but look at my dad's visa that I included here [above]. Your father issued my dad's visa February 27, 1940. ... I would like to convey an incident that occurred in your father's office on March 30, 1940. It occurred after your father issued my father's visa on February 27, 1940.The camp captain at Camp Des Mille issued a release document on March 6, 1940 after your father notified him of my father's visa. My father sailed on March 30, 1940 on the S.S. Champlain. The day of the sailing the police brought my father to your dad's office in leg irons, handcuffs and in prison garb. My dad did not have a shower in more then three weeks. Your father was enraged. Your dad ordered the police to remove the leg irons and handcuffs and then ordered his secretary to take my father for a bath and to buy him new clothes and report back to him in three hours before your dad could take him to the ship. Your father knew what my dad had gone through. My dad was just 17 years old when he was arrested and imprisoned in the concentration camp. I thought that I should share my dad's story with you. ... Since your father was responsible for the survival of my father and in turn was indirectly responsible for the creation of me, my two brothers, my two sisters, ten grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. I would like to honor your father by sending you a copy of my book. ... Your father was more then just an honorable person. He was warm, caring, and possessed a human quality far beyond that of common man. Thank you for your posting of my dad's visa and story. Respectfully, Lawrence Bodner"
[Email to Robert Kim Bingham, Sr. June 29, 2008]
GRATEFUL LETTER TO HARRY:SURVIVOR HADASSA KLAMEN (LICHTENSTEIN): My family was fortunate to be among those to receive U.S. entry visas signed by Hiram Bingham Jr. American Vice Consul in Marseille, France. We arrived in the United States in January 1941, went on to become grateful, constructive American citizens and eventually immigrated to Israel, where we and our families live now.... I am only sorry that we cannot thank your noble father personally.... May G-d bless you and grant you and us the moral strength to go in your father's footsteps.
M. Friedrich Heine (a German anti-Nazi social democrat who was on the Gestapo arrest list) was introduced to HBIV in Marseille by a letter from another German social democrat, R. Breitscheid. After Breitscheid wrote the letter, Breitscheid was arrested and he did not survive. But in 1985, at the age of 80, M. Friedrich Heine wrote the following letter in English to Hiram Bingham IV:
SURVIVOR LILLIAN STUART SMITH: "Hiram Bingham did not hesitate to issue visas for our entire family. I learned later that he helped many people who were in danger from the Germans. His courage and generosity cost him much. The Germans complained of his activities to the Vichy government, who then complained to Washington. It was still the time when President Roosevelt, by sending Admiral Leahy to Vichy, hoped to influence [Marshal] Petain. Hiram Bingham was transferred out of Marseille and sent to a South American post [Buenos Aires]. He was eventually to resign from the Foreign Service. Mrs. L.S.M" (whose family was saved by Harry); foreign Service Journal, Jan. 2000.
SURVIVOR RALPH HOCKLEY: "I do want you to know that Hiram Bingham had me (when I was a 15-year old boy in Marseille working for the Quakers) into his office and told me how he would issue my family a visa to the US after we had obtained the Release of my father from the Gurs Concentration Camp .. I could write a treatise about what Consul Hiram Bingham did to save refugees during his posting as US consul at the American Consulate in Marseille, France in the 1940-1941 period. He definitely helped to save my life and that of my parents and sister." RMH, Houston,Texas, 11/27/00
SURVIVOR WALTER SHOSTAL, age 93: "It happened in the summer of 1941 in Marseilles..[o]ur only faint hope was with America. ... Then a miracle happened. A letter arrived from the consulate ... saying they were instructed to grant us a visa, and I should come by on such and such a date. I did, and the letter worked like a charm." Excerpt from 8/5/01 letter about receiving visas in Marseilles, France for himself, his wife Magda, son Pierre, and a baby [girl?] and his mother and brother Robert. His son Pierre, 65, wrote to Robert Kim Bingham, "Thanks so much for sending such eloquent testimonies of your Dad's heroism on the occasion of his 100th birthday. As you well know, I am one of the many who would not be on this earth if he had not helped my family. I think about him often, and bless his name." Email 7/20/03
SURVIVOR JOSEPH SCHACHTER: "I and my entire immediate family (six persons in all) had received the life-saving visas dated Feb. 7, 1941. ... My sister, who has the originals, hastened to let all those to whom I had forwarded the news story know that it was more than just a supposition that he had issued the visas - but that she had the original documents...I was just 10 years old at the time and do not remember any details other than a sense of relief that we were going to be able to escape the impending disaster having already had three 'brushes' with the Gestapo - in Vienna in 1938 from which we fled to Belgium, and from Antwerp which we fled in May 1940, and in the Occupied portion of France from which we managed to make our way south. Our parents - Salomon and Gitta Schachter accompanied by four children aged 17, 10, 8, and 7 were able to embark on Feb 17 by way of the Antilles and reach US territory, the Virgin Islands in March. Our parents are gone now, but there are quite a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren scattered in many parts of the United States and Canada, and some of us now reside in Israel. We have, as a result of the news story, passed on the very aspect of their existence as having been dramatically affected by the actions of Hiram Bingham IV. ... To paraphrase my mother's saying: 'When he reaches Paradise he will find a multitude of greeters welcoming him and thanking him!' If we can be of any help in the project for a commemorative stamp, I'd be delighted to enlist the entire family and friends." Rabbi Joseph Schachter, letter 11/27/02
"LIFE-SAVING" FAMILY VISAS ISSUED BY BINGHAM IN 1941
BINGHAM "AFFIDAVIT IN LIEU OF PASSPORT" ON THE BACK OF SCHACHTER FAMILY VISAS
SURVIVOR AUTHOR & MRS. LION FEUCHTWANGER: "Bingham's advice was again accurate. He had told us that one could achieve a lot in Spain with Camel cigarettes and he had filled my backpack and the pockets of my suit with many packs. So I went into the Customs House and told them I had heard that there was a high duty on cigarettes and I decided not to take them, I preferred leaving them here - and I threw a whole bunch of packs on the table. They all grabbed the packs, and one of them quickly stamped a paper I gave him without looking at the name. I have never gone down a mountain so fast." Postscript by Marta Feuchtwanger in 1987 book "Der Teufel In Frankreich," originally published by renowned anti-Nazi author Lion Feuchtwanger in 1942 (Harry rescued the author and Mrs. Feuchtwanger). Translation from German to English Pages 227 to 236 by Ralph M. Hockley (whose family Harry also rescued).
SURVIVOR AUTHOR THOMAS MANN: "I want particularly to be able to thank you personally for your sympathetic help to the many men and women, including members of my own family, who have turned to you for assistance...Yours Very Sincerely, Thomas Mann." (whose family Harry rescued). Mann letter to Harry, Hartford Courant, 2/9/01
|SURVIVOR ELLY SHERMAN (nee Oppenheim): "May I add my admiration and eternal gratitude to your Father. ... Of the three of my family he saved in 1941 in Marseilles I am the last one alive and I write this with trembling fingers and many a tear. May his name be honored for ever. [He] saved my Mother, my sister and I. Without him we would not have been able to avoid the concentration camp to which we were assigned two days later. He provided us with a "Nansen Passport" because we no longer held citizenship in any country, and therefore had no papers. He risked a great deal to do this. I still have the document. We cannot honor him enough, and not that many whom he saved are still around to pay him tribute. I am grateful every day. ... Thank you."
Email sent to RKB October 18, 2005 .
HBIV's signatures on American visas dated May 3, 1941 issued to Erna Oppenheim and her two daughters, Gerty and Elly, which enabled them to escape from Europe.
"Affidavit in lieu of passport," executed by Bingham, "to allow [Mrs. Oppenheim and her two daughters] to proceed to the United States." The affidavit also states that Oppenheim has no valid travel document, "because being an ex Austrian refugee she is unable to obtain a valid travel document due to the present circumstances"
SURVIVOR CHARLES H. KRAUSZ: On March 20, 2006, James Kraus, son of survivor Charles H. Krausz, wrote:
James Kraus attached his father's life-saving AFFIDAVIT IN LIEU OF PASSPORT (at right) issued by Hiram Bingham IV on February 14, 1941. Mr. Krausz's place of birth is stated as "Vienna, Germany" due to the German occupation.
SURVIVOR GERDA MORGENSTERN and her one-year-old daughter BARBARA ANNE received these two visas from Harry on January 10, 1941
CAPITOL HILL CELEBRATION OF HARRY'S US POSTAGE STAMP, 24 May 2006
SURVIVOR HANS L. SCHLESINGER WROTE:
Valley News, West Lebanon, NH, 22 June 2006
ARTICLE BY SURVIVOR HARVARD DEAN MICHAEL SHINEGAL: Click here to view a very interesting article, From Machu Picchu to Harvard Extension School, in the Harvard University Extension School Alumni Bulletin.
YALE PRESIDENT RICHARD LEVIN: "Hiram Bingham certainly personifies the kind of leadership and courage that we like to think that we instill in our students...Bingham is a true hero who rose to a dangerous occasion, thought for himself, and did what was right." New Haven Register 10/19/01
CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR JOHN G. ROWLAND: "Hiram Bingham IV courageously followed his conscience by writing ‘visas for life' and affidavits of eligibility for passage and organizing refugees' escapes from Europe, yet many people in the world have still not learned of this courageous man." Speech, Conn. College, April 3, 2000
LA TIMES COLUMNIST MIKE DOWNEY: "Before he cleans out his Oval Office desk for the last time, maybe Bill Clinton could consider doing something on behalf of Harry Bingham." Op/Ed 10/25/00.
CONNECTICUT SECRETARY OF THE STATE SUSAN BYSIEWICZ: "It is then, with great pride and admiration, that I dedicate the 2001 edition of the CONNECTICUT STATE REGISTER AND MANUAL to Hiram Bingham IV, truly a righteous and honorable man." 10/18/01.
Director, SIMON WIESANTHAL CENTER: "Bingham set up Fry with the underground and materially aided with his rescue of Jews and other refugees in Marseilles in 1940...Bingham personally escorted Dr. Otto and Hedwig Meyerhof across the French-Spanish border. Dr. Meyerhof was a recipient of the Nobel prize in physics." Eric Saul letter, Los Angeles, 3/16/99.
THE DAY, NEW LONDON, CT: "Collectively," Bingham and 10 righteous diplomats from other countries "clandestinely saved 200,000 lives from the Holocaust, by writing visas and affidavits of eligibility for passage, and planning escapes from Europe, circumventing their superiors' orders. There are an estimated 1 million descendants of these survivors." Op/Ed May 24, 1998.
BARBRA STREISAND film: "What you're doing with these refugees represents the finest face of our country." Varian Fry praising Harry while visiting Harry's diplomatic residence in the film "VARIAN'S WAR."
HARTFORD COURANT: "Harry kept signing affidavits. He provided papers, the routes, and the strategy for how to make it work. There was soon a steady flow of people getting out of the camps, and getting from Harry the precious visas that others refused to issue." Lucretia Bingham Op/Ed Feb. 9, 2001
THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: "Harry Bingham [as portrayed in the film "Varian's War"] is clearly violating both the spirit and letter of the State Department's policy of explicit neutraliy and implicit anti-Semitism." Peter I. Rose, at B18 (Ap. 20, 2001).
LA TIMES OP/ED: "Although he was already famous, considered one of the great modern artists of the era, Chagall had been arrested by the Nazis and then released with Bingham's help. He knew he was on the list for extinction, that the next step for him was a concentration camp. Reluctantly, he and his wife fled their beloved city of Paris for the sanctuary of the diplomat's villa. They hid there until Bingham, working with the Resistance movement, managed to engineer their safe escape. ... He resigned in protest -- and in frustration. He spent the rest of his life as a philosopher and artist ... keeping quiet about his secret career. When he died at 84 in 1988, he was almost penniless, having spent all that was left of the family money to raise and educate his kids and to keep the family farm afloat." 9/27/01
WASHINGTON POST OP/ED: "Although Bingham in his later years didn't talk much about his lifesaving work, he played a pivotal role in the rescue of many scholars and notable artists. ... As Robert Kim Bingham, one of his eleven children, noted, he put humanity before his career." Ilene Munetz Pachman 7/28/01. Web browser: "[H]ope he´ll be honored soon with a stamp from not only U.S. government; any country considered part of free world must honor him." DMP, Peru, 2/1/02
BOSTON GLOBE OP/ED columnist Jeff Jacoby: "Bingham ... at times would even drive into concentration camps, confront the Nazi commandant with falsified US papers, and demand that Jewish prisoners be released into his custody." 10/30/02.
US SENATOR JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN: "I am pleased to reiterate my strong support for a commemorative stamp honoring Holocaust hero and diplomat, the late Hiram Bingham IV. I am enclosing, for your reference, a copy of a March 2000 letter of support for the stamp signed by myself and 35 other United States Senators. I would like to call your attention to the significant fact that July 17, 2003, will mark the 100th anniversary of Hiram Bingham's birth. It would be very fitting for a stamp to be issued during 2003. Hiram Bingham IV was a courageous American hero who deserves the tremendous honor of a postage stamp. I very much hope this will be on the stamp agenda for next year." Letter to USPS 3/5/02.
US SENATOR FRED THOMPSON: "Hiram Bingham...helped save people from the Holocaust." Letter to US Postal Service 4/6/02.
US SENATOR CHRISTOPHER J. DODD: "At the time it was U.S. policy not to aid Jewish refugees and Mr. Bingham's actions were denounced by the American government. ... The posthumous awards are significant, but this true hero that sacrificed life and limb for so many innocent individuals deserves more. A commemorative stamp should be issued prior to the 100th anniversary of his birth [July 17, 2003]. Americans across the nation would welcome the stamp of such a great American and international citizen. At a time of widespread uncertainty, Mr. Bingham's story reestablishes our faith in humanity and redefines the significance of being an American. ... I urge the Committee's favorable consideration of the Hiram Bingham IV stamp." Letter to US Postal Service 12/20/02
US POSTAL SERVICE (Reply to Robert Kim Bingham): "Thank you for your recent letter expressing your support for the issuance of a commemorative stamp honoring the 100th birthday of Mr. Hiram Bingham IV. Unfortunately, we cannot honor your request. The 2003 and 2004 stamp programs are now closed. You will be pleased to know that Hiram Bingham remains under consideration by the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee as a future stamp issuance..." Terrence W. McCaffrey, Manager, Stamp Development, 12/27/02
WEBMASTER'S NOTES: This webmaster and other supporters have requested the Postmaster General to RECONSIDER issuing the stamp in 2003 since it is the 100th anniversary of Harry's birth. It has been gratifying that this website has inspired several surviving families to respond, expressing deep appreciation for Harry's actions. One family in Jerusalem that found this HBIV website sent copies of their visas signed by Harry. It was a thrill for me and my family to see our father's familiar signature on the life-saving visas dated 1941. Robert Kim Bingham 1/20/03
Here is one note from Marc Chagall to Harry (rough transcription from a hand-written note): 28-5-41 Cher Monsieur Bingham Je me permit de vous presente mon bon ami M. Dijour, vice-president de "Hicim" de qui je vous ai parle l'autre soir. C'est un homme tres (con------)(sp?) et profondemont (devoue) a sa tache. Je peut esperer que vous lui reservere un bon accueil. Merci d-avance. L'espere que nous vous serrons encore about notre deport. Bien affectienensement a vous. Marc Chagall Rough Translation: May 28, 1941 Dear Mr. Bingham
Permit me to present to you my good friend Monsieur Dijour, Vice President of HICIM (Note: Hebrew Refugee Organization) of whom I spoke to you the other night. He is a man very con(cerned)(?) and profoundly devoted(?) in this awful mess (literally: stain). I would hope that you would reserve a good reception for him. Thanks in advance. I hope that we will (see you?) again before our departure. Very affectionately towards you. Marc Chagall
AUTHOR FEUCHTWANGER'S DIARY ENTRIES WHILE HIDING IN HARRY'S MARSEILLE RESIDENCE: [In these passages it seems pretty clear that, among other things:
TRANSLATION OF FEUCHTWANGER DIARY 1940 - SELECTED ENTRIES, Original German version courtesy of Feuchtwanger Memorial Library, Specialized Libraries and Archival Collections, University of Southern California]:
Marseille, Monday 22 July
Marseille, Sunday, 28 July
Marseille, Monday 29 July
Sunday, 4 August
Monday, 5 August
Wednesday, 7 August
Saturday, 10 August
Sunday, 11 August
Marseille, Monday, 12 August
Saturday, 17 August
Thursday, 29 August
LETTER FROM FEUCHTWANGER THANKING HARRY ["While we were finding [letters] about Buenos Aires in the basement of the Mumford House, we also came across a letter from Feuchtwanger to Harry, written on board the S.S.Excalibur on his way to the U.S. after escaping from Europe and thanking Harry for his help. Here's the letter -- remember that English was not Feuchtwanger's native language and 'Wetcheek' is the name he used for his escape." --W.Endicott 7/17/003]:
Below is a copy of the original letter and its envelope:
VARIAN FRY MANUSCRIPT PRAISES HARRY Friday August 8, 2003
HARRY'S OWN WORDS in taped interview by his 13 year old grandaughter Tiffany Bingham (circa 1980):
NEWS REGARDING FIRST DAY OF ISSUE EVENT May 30, 2006: The US Postal Service hosted the First Day of Issue ceremony in the Washington, DC Convention Center for a set of six commemorative stamps depicting six “Distinguished American Diplomats.” It was a spectacular event with color guard, dignitaries, and some 500 people in attendance, including stamp collectors, lawmakers, and public visitors.In video-taped remarks, Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice announced:
She applauded the postal service for “helping to acquaint the American people and people across the world with six of our country's finest diplomats.”News stories regarding the day of issue of the stamps honoring Hiram Bingham IV and the other five Distinguished American Diplomats may be seen at the following links:
Six days before the first day of issue of Bingham's stamp, Marc Chagall's granddaughter, Dr. Bella Meyer, spoke at a public “Celebration in Honor of the Hiram Bingham IV U.S. Postage Stamp”, conducted on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, sponsored by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in cooperation with Congressman Tom Lantos. According to the program, Dr. Meyer has been a “keynote speaker at several events sponsored by The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust studies, at which she has spoken about Chagall's rescue from Vichy France by Varian Fry and Hiram Bingham IV …” At this special ceremony for Bingham, Robert Kim Bingham shared the podium as a speaker with Dr. Meyer and other dignitaries. Before an audience of lawmakers, agency officials, and tourists, Meyer eloquently recalled sitting on her grandfather Chagall's knee when she was a little girl, while he told her many stories, including the one about his rescue from the Nazis in Marseilles with the help of Bingham and Fry. She emphasized how grateful she and her grandfather have always been to Harry for helping Chagall and his wife, Bella, escape to freedom.The glossy 16-page program also recited an historical context:
March 2009: The March 2009 issue of the SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE features Harry Bingham with an eight-page article titled "Bingham's List" starting at page 50 (the first page of the article is reproduced below). The complete article can be read here.
September 26, 2007: LETTER TO THE EDITOR of Yale Alumni Magazine Dear Editor: I read with both interest and disappointment Judith Ann Schiff's article in the September/October, 2007 issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine , “Yale on Stamps”: interest because I was for eight years involved with the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee of the U.S. Postage Service in a stamp petition; disappointment because the subject of that petition, my father, Hiram Bingham IV (Yale '25), who was honored in the spring of 2006 with a U.S. postage stamp, was not among those cited by Ms. Schiff. This omission is particularly surprising, first because the story behind Bingham's being recognized by the USPS was highlighted in YAM 's May/June, 2006 issue (“Civil Disobedience”); second because his heroic deeds are riveting in and of themselves, and do great credit to his alma mater, to which he remained loyal throughout his life. On May 30, 2006, the USPS hosted a first-day-of-issue ceremony at the Washington Convention Center, for a block of stamps entitled “Distinguished American Diplomats,” depicting six notable American envoys, my father among them (see attached US Postage stamp depicting Hiram Bingham IV). There was, however, a major difference between Hiram Bingham IV and the other five. While the latter had been recognized for their accomplishments during their lifetimes, “Harry” Bingham's saving actions as vice-consul in Marseilles from 1940-1941 – when southern France was a Nazi puppet regime – were only belatedly acknowledged years after his death in 1988. First the Yad Vashem and Holocaust Museums , then the U.S. State Department, finally the USPS, honored this quiet hero for his rescue of many hundreds if not thousands of Jews and other refugees fleeing the Nazi death machine. In defiance of restrictive U.S. State Department immigration policies (the U.S. had not yet entered the war), Bingham wrote innumerable life-saving visas, offering his fellow human beings a chance to live that would otherwise have been denied them. For his disobedience he was reassigned out of Europe to Buenos Aires (where he further jeopardized his career by challenging the State Department's apparent indifference to Argentina's harboring of Nazi war criminals), and his career was held back. Following the successful conclusion of my stamp drive, I wrote a book about my father's unsung heroism, Courageous Dissent: How Harry Bingham Defied His Government to Save Lives , which can be ordered through Triune Books, Greenwich , CT at firstname.lastname@example.org . Certainly Harry Bingham was a man of whom his country and his college should be proud. Sincerely,
Robert Kim Bingham (Yale '65)
26 March 2007 PRESS RELEASE To Friends of Harry Bingham, History Professors, Museums, Libraries, and ReviewersRe:
To order: You may purchase the book COURAGEOUS DISSENT by emailing the author at email@example.com (provide your mailing address, phone number, and how many books you'd like). Price is $22 plus $4 shipping, or $26. I hope this book inspires you, your students, and other readers.
NOVEMBER 21, 2006. Hiram Bingham IV has received two new honors: On October 27, 2006, he was posthumously presented the Anti-Defamation League's 2006 "Courage to Care" award (previous recipients include Oskar Schindler, Chiune Sugihara, and "The People of Denmark"). It was a very moving event in Atlanta.In November 2006, the Episcopal Church added Hiram Bingham IV to its roster of "American Saints," with a beautifully crafted summation of his life and character in the newly-published book, A Year with American Saints , on pp 200 - 202.
May 14, 2006: YALE Alumni Magazine conducts Q&A with Robert Kim Bingham regarding new stamp for Hiram Bingham IV. This interview appears in the May/June 2006 issue.
October 18, 2005
I expect that the USPS will officially announce the 2006 program within 30 days, when the image of Bingham's stamp will be published.Regarding a celebration, the first-day-of-issue ceremony for the "Distinguished American Diplomats" series is tentatively planned for May 30, 2006 at the new Washington Convention Center, 12 noon. It will be open to the public. There will also be many family members there for the other five "distinguished American diplomats" being honored. This USPS ceremony should be an exciting diplomatic occasion, with a designated post office on site, to permit stamp collectors to buy elegant first-day covers, sheets of selected stamps, and get first-day-of-issue cancellation marks on envelopes and items mailed, et al. For further developments, readers may check my website under the "NEWS" link at http://pages.cthome.net/WWIIHERO/ as well as the "Washington 2006" world philatelic exhibition webpage, to verify the convention center's "schedule of activities and events" at http://www.washington-2006.org/wschedule.htm. Thanks a million for your support during the six-year-long stamp drive.
Robert Kim Bingham
9/6/05: The US Postal Service advised the following: "The stamps will be issued in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, May 30, 2006, at an international stamp show. There will be an official first day of issue ceremony planned by the Postal Service, and it will be open to the public. http://www.washington-2006.org/" (Italics added.) -- Robert Kim Bingham
8/10/05. LETTER RECEIVED FROM ERIC SAUL - VISAS FOR LIFE PROGRAM - RE STAMP DRIVE OUTCOME
8/5/05. The Hiram (Harry) Bingham IV stamp drive has achieved success! This past week I received word from the USPS that the postmaster general approved the stamp for the 2006 stamp program. Next year, Harry will be included in a series of six "Distinguished American Diplomats," each of whom will be portrayed on his or her own stamp. See 8/5/05 on-line CBS news item at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/08/05/national/main759858.shtml for the names of the six honored diplomats. The official USPS public announcement typically is in the fall of the year preceding issuance of stamps (i.e. next October or November 2005). My memorable "Visas for Life" tour of Israel in 1998, during which our group heard poignant first-hand accounts from survivors of Hitler's wrath, has been an unyielding source of inspiration for the stamp drive. I'm grateful to supporters of the campaign for your incredibly broad bipartisan support that led to this deserved outcome. I understand the US postal service plans to issue the stamp around Memorial Day 2006. I'll keep this webpage posted. Thanks a million!
s/ Robert Kim Bingham, HBIV Stamp drive coordinator and webmaster, Sixth child of Harry's eleven children.
5/24/04. A notice received from Dili, East Timor: "In Dili's Cathedral on June 17th a mass is scheduled that will be celebrated all over the world ... as part of the world wide celebrations in honor of the Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the American diplomat Hiram Bingham [IV] is also being honored."
4/17/04. Catholic University awards its highest medal to HB IV. On April 17, 2004, just before the start of a dramatic concert entitled "Defiant Requiem - Verdi at Terezin", the Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, President of the Catholic University of America, awarded the CUA President's Medal to Harry, accepted by his daughter Abigail. In his remarks to a full concert hall, President O'Connell stated that "Hiram Bingham IV chose principle over expediency and humanity over political calculation. He displayed courage in defiance of evil. For these reasons, the Catholic University of America is proud to confer posthumously upon him its highest honor, the President's Medal."
1/24/04. Letter from USPS: 'You will be pleased to know that the nomination of Hiram Bingham IV is currently under consideration by the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee as a future stamp issuance.' Terrance W. McCaffrey, Manager, Stamp Development.
10/29/03 US Capitol exhibit. A week-long "Visas for Life" exhibit opened in Washington, DC on October 29, 2003 in the Senate Russell Building Rotunda, which featured enlarged photographs of approximately 30 WWII "righteous diplomats" being honored from around the world, including Hiram Bingham IV.
5/7/03 US Senator Frank R. Lautenberg writes to Postmaster General: "The Hiram Bingham stamp is currently under consideration by the Citizens' stamp Advisory Committee. I urge you to quickly approve this commemorative stamp in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Mr. Bingham's birth ."
5/7/03 See well-written article about Harry in Cleveland by Stewart Hoicowitz at: http://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/display/inn_features/profile/zsun0425.txt
2/26/03 US Postal Service wrote: "The proposal for a Hiram Bingham IV commemorative stamp has been reviewed by the Committee and it remains under consideration as a possible future stamp issuance....Currently, stamps for 2005 and subsequent years are being considered." Deborah D. Leifer, Mgr. Government Relations
1/27/03 US Postal Service wrote that it will "share" RKB'S request with Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee to RECONSIDER the decision not to include the HBIV stamp in the 2003 lineup.
11/6/02 Last day of "Visas for Life" exhibit at Boston Univ.; Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, praised the exhibit in an Op/Ed 10/20/02. Sponsor: Terri Hootstein, Director of Development, Greater Boston Chapter, American Jewish Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
10/3/02 Connecticut Congressmen Rob Simmons and Chris Shays and 17 other U.S. Representatives send a letter to the national Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee in strong support of the stamp, together with a copy of a pending House Joint Resolution recommending issuance of the Hiram Bingham IV stamp.
7/17/02 Governor Rowland designates July 17, Harry's birthday, as Hiram Bingham IV Day in Connecticut.
6/27/02 Colin Powell gives posthumous award to Harry at State Department ceremony. Amb. Thomas Pickering also praises Harry.
5/16/02 Congressman Rob Simmons wrote a "Dear Colleague" letter for House members to sign, urging the Postmaster General to issue the HBIV stamp in 2003. Please urge your Representative to sign today!
5/9/02 U.S. Senator Lieberman again wrote: "I strongly support the Hiram Bingham IV stamp proposal...I wish you success in this continued effort."
4/2/02 The U. S. Postal Service wrote: "The nomination of a stamp honoring Hiram Bingham IV remains under consideration by the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee....Currently, the stamp program for 2003 is closed, and stamps for 2004 and subsequent years are being considered." Kimberly A. Weaver, Mgr., Government Relations
4/14/02 There was a Visas for Life Exhibit on April 14, 2002 at the London Jewish Community Center, where Harry's story was "emphasized" (per Dr. Eric Saul). In 2002, there will be other "righteous diplomat" exhibits at Princeton, Boston Univ., and San Antonio.
1/22/02 The President of the American Foreign Service Asso, John K. Naland, wrote Harry's family that "the Governing Board of the American Foreign Service Association has voted to give a special posthumous award to our colleague and your late father, Hiram 'Harry' Bingham IV" at the State Department ceremony in Washington, DC on June 27, 2002. Harry was featured on the cover of the FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL June 2002 issue.
9/27/01 LA TIMES: "It turns out that Hiram Bingham IV hadn't failed in life at all. In fact, he was a hero who succeeded admirably at his chosen career: secretly saving lives, as a vice consul in Marseilles."
8/7/01: U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman wrote: "On July 12th I wrote a note to the Postmaster General ... calling his attention to the Hiram Bingham IV commemorative stamp proposal. I received the enclosed response, which states that the suggestion remains under consideration ..."
8/2/01: Harry's oldest daughter, Tiffany, wrote from Maine: "A fine article especially honoring Dad and supporting proposal for a Bingham stamp appeared in 7/31 Bangor Daily News on OpEd page."
8/28/01: Editorial in Washington Post urges Secretary of State Colin Powell to support Bingham stamp proposal. To view the entire article, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/opinion/A63679-2001Jul27.html
8/19/01: U.S. Senator Lieberman's office advised that the Hiram Bingham IV stamp was (again) "on the agenda" of the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee mtg 7/18 - 7/19!
6/5/01: Letter to OUR TOWN-SALEM: "The Harry Bingham family received news that the State of Israel will mint a bronze medal in Harry's honor . . . Our family extends heartfelt thanks to the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut, and Eric Saul, "Visas for Life" Curator, Simon Weisanthal Center, Los Angeles for sponsoring the coin...." s/Robert Kim Bingham"
5/28/01: Historian's quote: "Bingham was the only State Department official anywhere in Europe who gave Jews emergency visas." Blanche Cook "Varian Fry. A Hero for Our Time." Blanche Wiesen Cook is Distinguished Professor of History at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Graduate Center. Culturefront on Line. Vol 7 #2.
5/1/01: There was an exhibit of the WWII "righteous diplomats" at the Museum of American Politics, Joseloff Gallery, University of Hartford, Connecticut, which is a world traveling exhibit that has been to NY, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Europe and Japan ... to 110 sites so far. It was open from May 1 thru June 13, 2001, and received significant publicity in the Hartford Courant and a wonderful community response. Source: Ms. Zina Davis, Director, Joseloff Gallery, University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue West Hartford, CT 06117
3/22/01: U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, "introduced legislation Wednesday recommending the [Hiram Bingham IV] stamp. ... Simmons and [State] Rep. Linda Orange, D-Colchester, previously gained unanimous endorsement from the state Legislature to support a petition to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee ... 'It's been a tremendous bipartisan effort, and I hope it will prevail, ... Those interested in supporting the stamp proposal can search for Hiram Bingham on the Yahoo! search engine to learn how. ... Simmons hopes to gain the same overwhelming [bipartisan] support in Congress.' Norwich Bulletin
4/12/01: The History Channel again aired the hour-long "Diplomats for the Damned" program featuring HBIV and 3 other "righteous diplomats," as part of the channel's Classroom Study Program. The video of that show is available for order (along with a nice writeup) at the following link:
The History Channel will air the show again on 31 January 2005.
The History Channel will air the show again on 31 January 2005.
Thursday, June 03, 2004. Letter from Hartford Courant writer Lucretia Bingham (Harry's niece) to "Abby" (Harry's daughter):
Spring 1999: US Senator Joseph Lieberman letters: [to the Chair of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee in Washington,
DC]: "In 1996, the U.S. Postal Service issued an historic stamp honoring Swedish diplomat Raul Wallenberg, who rescued
many thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. I was very proud that the United State Postal service issued a stamp of such
great dignity and importance....At this time, I want to express my support for a stamp proposal to honor another hero
of the Holocaust, the late American diplomat, Hiram Bingham IV of Salem, Connecticut, whose story only recently came to
light. I was privileged to pay tribute to Hiram Bingham IV on the Senate floor in February 1998 and to present his remarkable
story to my colleagues. ... Hiram Bingham IV was a U.S. diplomat stationed in Marseilles, France, in 1940. Acting against
orders, and at great personal risk, he issued visas, safe passes, and letters of transit to Jewish refugees. Working in
collaboration with American journalist Varian Fry's Emergency Rescue Committee, Hiram Bingham IV is credited with helping
save more than 2,500 Jews from the Holocaust. I understand that many were Jewish artists, intellectuals, scientists and
authors, including Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Andre Breton and Heinrich Mann..."
11/27/00: Quotes from a survivor saved by Harry who petitioned for a stamp in Harry's honor: [To RKB:] "I do want you
to know that Hiram Bingham had me (when I was a 15-year old boy in Marseille working for the Quakers) into his office
and told me how he would issue my family a visa to the US after we had obtained the release of my father from the Gurs
Concentration Camp. I consider Hiram Bingham and his colleague, Myles Standish, as real heroes." [To Postmaster General:]
"I would like to petition herewith the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee and Postmaster General Henderson to look favorably
at the issuance of a commemorative stamp to honor Consul Hiram Bingham IV, a World War II diplomatic hero of the United
States. I could write a treatise about what Consul Hiram Bingham did to save refugees during his posting as US Consul
at the American Consulate in Marseille, France in the 1940-1941 period. He definitely helped to save my life and that
of my parents and sister." RMH, Houston,Texas
11/27/00: Quotes from a survivor saved by Harry who petitioned for a stamp in Harry's honor: [To RKB:] "I do want you to know that Hiram Bingham had me (when I was a 15-year old boy in Marseille working for the Quakers) into his office and told me how he would issue my family a visa to the US after we had obtained the release of my father from the Gurs Concentration Camp. I consider Hiram Bingham and his colleague, Myles Standish, as real heroes." [To Postmaster General:] "I would like to petition herewith the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee and Postmaster General Henderson to look favorably at the issuance of a commemorative stamp to honor Consul Hiram Bingham IV, a World War II diplomatic hero of the United States. I could write a treatise about what Consul Hiram Bingham did to save refugees during his posting as US Consul at the American Consulate in Marseille, France in the 1940-1941 period. He definitely helped to save my life and that of my parents and sister." RMH, Houston,Texas
April 10, 2001: Rescued survivor Marta (Mrs. Lion) Feuchtwanger's 1987 account of her escape from Marseilles (she and
her husband were hiding in Harry's "villa"):
11/26/00: The TV History Channel featured Harry and three other "righteous diplomats" on the Sunday night World Premiere History Undercover program entitled "Diplomats for the Damned" at 10PM ET/PT. The one-hour prime-time TV program schedule noted: "Years before the Allies defeated the Nazis, a group of unsung heroes took lonely, defiant stands for humanity. Men like Carl Lutz of Switzerland, Aristides de Sousa Mendes of Portugal, Hiram Bingham of the United States and Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz of Germany secretly issued visas, falsified papers and cut backroom deals, risking their lives and careers to rescue Jews from the clutches of the Nazis." The program ended with several of Harry's children singing "Aura Lee" by his gravesite in Salem, Connecticut - a song he had taught them, among many. Program tapes can be purchased from the History Channel.
3/28/00: US Senate support: Thirty-six United States Senators endorsed the Hiram Bingham IV postage stamp proposal in a letter to the USPS. Many thanks to Senator Joe Lieberman for sponsoring the Senate circular, and to Ms Ilene Pachman for her follow-up efforts. US Senators who signed the letter dated March 28, 2000 are: Joseph I. Lieberman, Christopher J. Dodd, Richard G. Lugar, Paul Wellstone, Wayne Allard, Max Cleland, Spencer Abraham, Charles E. Grassley, Thomas Daschle, Russell D. Feingold, Charles E. Schumer, Rod Grams, Patty Murray, Carl Levin, Chuck Hagel, Mike DeWine, John W. Warner, Richard H. Bryan, Fred Thompson, Robert Torricelli, Slade Gorton, Rick Santorum, Barbara Boxer, Paul S. Sarbanes, Richard J. Durbin, Arlen Specter, John Ashcroft, Frank R. Lautenberg, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Robert J. kerry, John F. Kerry, Barbara A. Milkulski, Edward M. Kennedy, Harry Reid, Gordon Smith and Tim Johnson. And thank you, Senators.
3/9/00: US House support: The New London Day reported that [former] Rep. Sam Gejdenson is petitioning members of the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee to endorse a stamp honoring the late Hiram Bingham IV. "Gejdenson urged the endorsement in a letter to the committee, which recommends stamps to the U.S. Postal Service. Thirty-four members of Congress signed the letter. ... To demonstrate broader support for the stamp, Gejdenson urged his colleagues in Congress to join him in urging endorsement of the stamp..." The following House Members signed the letter: Sam Gejdenson, Norman Sisisky, Luis V. Gutierrez, Charles B. Rangel, Robert T. Matsui, Jerrold Nadler, Martin Frost, Howard L. Berman, Henry A. Waxman, Sander Levin, Bob Filner, Tom Lantos, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Michael R. McNulty, Bernie Sanders, Rush Holt, Grace F. Napolitano, John B. Larson, Dennis J. Kucinich, Steven C. LaTourette, Rosa L. DeLauro, Lloyd Doggett, Frank Pallone, Jr., Carrie P. Meek, Anthony Weiner, Pete Stark, Peter Deutch, Janice Schakowsky, Robert Wexler, Max Sandlin, Bob Borski, James Greenwood, John Lewis, David E. Bonior, Bob Etheridge. Special thanks goes to former Congressman Gejdenson for this worthy effort, with heartfelt thanks also to the above Representatives who joined him. Additionally, I thank the Norwich Bulletin for prominently featuring the Hiram Bingham IV stamp drive on its front page on March 11, 2000. RKB
UN Honors Harry: The April 3, 2000 "Visas For Life" Exhibit Opening at the United Nations was a SUCCESS AND A MOVING EXPERIENCE (news accounts attached). More than 30 Bingham descendants, spouses, in-laws and hundreds of other "righteous diplomat" descendants, and in-laws and survivors of the Holocaust attended the ceremony in the General Assembly Great Hall. Elie Wiesel, Honorary Chairman of the UN righteous diplomat, exhibit gave a brilliant keynote address.
4/4/00: Statehouse support: The Connecticut State Legislature unanimously endorsed the Bingham commemorative stamp proposa: "For the first time in history," all 151 state representatives and all 36 senators endorsed a proposal, without exception. Congratulations to the two State Representatives who worked tirelessly on this stamp endorsement: Rob Simmons, R-Stonington (now newly-elected Congressman), and Linda Orange, D-Colchester. [Governor John Rowland and Lieutenant Governor Jodi Rell had already endorsed the Bingham stamp proposal.]
Governor John G. Rowland designated April 3, 2000 as "Hiram Bingham IV Day in the State of Connecticut":
11/1/00: Reliable sources say the UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE is finally considering the Hiram Bingham IV stamp proposal "for 2003," which year is very appropriate since Harry's 100th birthday anniversary falls on July 17, 2003 -- a HOPEFUL SIGN.
10/25/00: LA Times columnist Mike Downey wrote a very supportive piece about Hiram Bingham IV, titled "A Holocaust Story of Heroism and History's Neglect." He invited outgoing President Clinton to "[ do] something" for Harry: "Before he cleans out his Oval Office desk for the last time, maybe Bill Clinton could consider doing something on behalf of Harry Bingham. It's only 60 years overdue. Rabbi David Baron, for one, would have no objection to this. He knows an unsung hero when he hears of one. It's just that like millions of Americans, he hadn't heard of Harry Bingham, at least until a couple of years ago.... Today, there will be teaching guides and a new film that can help educate young people -- plus older ones, hearing these stories for the first time -- about Harry Bingham and other courageous men like him. On film there is 'Diplomats for the Damned', which examines non-Jewish men of authority who put their careers and lives in jeopardy during the Holocaust."
September 2000: "CONNECTICUT MAGAZINE" reminds readers to watch Harry on TV: The magazine wrote of 'Holocaust Hero' Hiram Bingham IV, at page 168, reminding readers of the History Channel's History Under Cover program "Diplomats for the Damned....including Connecticut's own Harry Bingham."
7/26/00. My wife Anne and I returned from Geneva, Switzerland, where the UN exhibited the "righteous diplomats," with Hiram Bingham IV among the honorees. The UN-Geneva exhibit, coincidentally, opened on Harry's birthday, July 17, 2000. In a speech at the reception for ambassadors, visitors, diplomatic children, and media, James Foley, Deputy U.S. Representative to the UN, happily acknowleged America's "own" diplomat Hiram Bingham among the honorees. As Harry's son, I was asked to waive to the audience. It was a very exciting moment for us and for the other righteous diplomats' children, who had a delightful three-day reunion, which included a ferry-boat ride on Geneva Lake to the picturesque medieval French city of Yvoire. RKB
7/26/00: The Lyman Allyn Museum at Connecticut College and the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut exhibited the WWII "righteous diplomats," including local hero, Harry. They also collected over 1,000 signatures from attendees, on 16 petitions, supporting the HBIV stamp. I proudly forwarded these petitions to the Postmaster General.--RKB
3/9/01: Harry's nephew Stephen Bingham writes: "I think my favorite memories of Uncle Harry are his various athletic
endeavors. When we were still at Salem School, your father was getting all of us enthused about "Florball" and all the
other games that could be played in the "Sportatron" (Harry's patented 24'- long sport court). It never made sense to
me why there weren't Sportatrons everywhere. Uncle Harry felt so strongly that all of you [his eleven children] should
be good athletes! A contrast with my family when we were growing up. He was good at whatever sport he was playing, especially
as I remember, tennis...." SMB, California
4/20/00, the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee met in Washington, DC, and sources say the Hiram Bingham IV stamp proposal
received a "favorable reading." The USPS, which acts on the committee's recommendations, typically announce any stamp
acceptance in the Fall of the year before its issuance. RKB
5/4/00: Present at an elegant 1000-person dinner sponsored by the American Jewish Committee in honor of the "Righteous
Diplomats" at Union Station's Convention Center, Washington, DC was Madeleine Albright, keynote speaker. Before her speech,
she walked to the Bingham family table adjacent to hers and warmly shook hands with each of Harry's children, Abigail,
Robert Kim, and William and their spouses. This gracious gesture seemed to indicate a 180-degree turn around by the State
Department since the department transferred Harry out of Marseilles almost 60 years ago, for violating its policy by rescuing
people from the Holocaust. The children of the honored diplomats were asked to stand and received an ovation. RKB
April 30 and May 11, 2000: On April 30, the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut awarded the Bingham family an elaborate
menorah in appreciation of their father's bravery during the Holocaust. The gift was on display during the lovely exhibition
at the Lyman Allyn Museaum, which ran through mid-July 2000. At the (second) May 11 opening, Governor Rowland personally
proclaimed "Hiram Bingham IV Day in the State of Connecticut," calling Harry Connecticut's "international hero."
4/20/00, the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee met in Washington, DC, and sources say the Hiram Bingham IV stamp proposal received a "favorable reading." The USPS, which acts on the committee's recommendations, typically announce any stamp acceptance in the Fall of the year before its issuance. RKB
5/4/00: Present at an elegant 1000-person dinner sponsored by the American Jewish Committee in honor of the "Righteous Diplomats" at Union Station's Convention Center, Washington, DC was Madeleine Albright, keynote speaker. Before her speech, she walked to the Bingham family table adjacent to hers and warmly shook hands with each of Harry's children, Abigail, Robert Kim, and William and their spouses. This gracious gesture seemed to indicate a 180-degree turn around by the State Department since the department transferred Harry out of Marseilles almost 60 years ago, for violating its policy by rescuing people from the Holocaust. The children of the honored diplomats were asked to stand and received an ovation. RKB
April 30 and May 11, 2000: On April 30, the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut awarded the Bingham family an elaborate menorah in appreciation of their father's bravery during the Holocaust. The gift was on display during the lovely exhibition at the Lyman Allyn Museaum, which ran through mid-July 2000. At the (second) May 11 opening, Governor Rowland personally proclaimed "Hiram Bingham IV Day in the State of Connecticut," calling Harry Connecticut's "international hero."
Spring 2000: Elie Wiesel graciously accepted the Honorary Chairmanship of the Righteous Diplomats "Visas for Life" exhibit at the UN in New York (April 3, 2000). Calling Hiram Bingham IV "AMERICA'S WALLENBERG," a joint letter of support for the Hiram Bingham IV stamp was signed by the President and Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee in New York in early 2000. The American Jewish Committee now refered to Hiram Bingham IV as "America's Wallenberg" in its petition to Dr. Noelke, Chairperson of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory committee, responsible for recommending commemorative stamps to the United States Postal Service.
HIRAM BINGHAM IV MENTIONED IN NEW BOOK: On Decemebr 20, 1999, Eric Saul, Simon Wiesanthal Center Curator, wrote me: "I have got some great news for you to pass along to the Bingham family. ... There is a new book on Varian Fry that just came out. It is called: "A Quiet American: The Secret War of Varian Fry," by Andy Marino, published by St. Martin's Press. I have been reading it and your father [Hiram Bingham IV] is mentioned prominently in several places. Varian Fry talks about the importance of a friend in the American embassy in Marseilles. I will be taking the information from this book and passing it along to the Righteous Department in Israel. I will send this information to you as soon as it is finished."
HARRY'S SURVIVOR PUBLISHES LETTER IN JANUARY 2000 ISSUE OF FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL IN SUPPORT OF HIRAM BINGHAM IV COMMEMORATIVE
STAMP, "A Consul Who Saved Lives," at page 11:
February 2000: One question the History Channel producer asked me when his film crew came to our family home in Salem from Hollywood was: "What caused HBIV to stand above his peers?" I answered along the folowing lines:
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