Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, January 7, 2011
Hiram Bingham IV, the secret rescuer
By Selected News Articles @ 1:23 PM :: 12612 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics, World News, Family

Charleston Gazette: Hiram Bingham IV, the secret rescuer

January 6, 2011  http://wvgazette.com/Opinion/Editorials/201101061095

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Did you know that an idealistic U.S. diplomat disobeyed his Washington superiors early in World War II and saved 2,500 Jews in southern France, before Nazis could ship them to death camps?

Hiram Bingham IV came from an elite family. His grandfather was a missionary to Hawaii, whose writings presaged James Michener's novel about the islands. His father was an archeologist who discovered the sky-high Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, and reportedly became the model for fictional Indiana Jones. The father also married a Tiffany heiress and became a U.S. senator and governor of Connecticut.

The son attended both Yale and Harvard. He joined the foreign service and held various overseas posts before being assigned to Marseille in 1939. After Nazis overran Western Europe and began impounding Jews, the U.S. State Department took a hands-off posture, refusing to help Jews flee to safety.

But Bingham was horrified by the plight of refugees, including German intellectuals who had opposed Adolf Hitler. He hid some in his own home, and privately paid their escape expenses. Directly disobeying Washington, the junior diplomat issued 2,500 exit visas in a 10-month blitz. He saved famous figures such as artist Marc Chagall, Nobel Prize-winning medical researcher Otto Meyerhof, scholar Hannah Arendt, painter-sculptor Max Ernst and others.

Bingham also protested against squalid camps where France's turncoat Vichy government held refugees.

Washington swiftly silenced Bingham, transferring him to Argentina. From there, he reported the arrival of Nazi criminals as the war neared an end. Ostracized by the State Department, the diplomat resigned in 1945 and spent the rest of his life in obscurity at a Connecticut farm. He died nearly penniless in 1988.

His family never knew why his diplomatic career failed. But after his death, his sons found hidden packets of letters and documents about his Marseille actions. They made them public.

In 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell gave Bingham a posthumous "Constructive Dissent" award. In 2006, Congress approved a commemorative postage stamp calling him a "Distinguished American Diplomat." The Episcopal Church included him in a list of "American Saints." Other belated honors were given.

Amid all the world's evil, it's heartening to recall that some brave people take humane and noble stands, even if it damages their careers.

LINK >>> Discussion

 

Image

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii