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Honoring Eva Lassman

HON. CATHY McMORRIS RODGERS of washington in the house of representatives Thursday, February 10, 2011 Mrs. McMORRIS RODGERS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor and commemorate the life of Eva Lassman. As a resident of Spokane, Washington for over sixty years, Eva raised three sons in her inspiring likeness. However, Eva's life story was forever altered far before coming to Eastern Washington. Eva Lassman was born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Lodz, Poland, in 1919. Following Nazi invasion of Poland, at 20 years old, Eva and hundreds of thousands of Jews were confined in the infamous Warsaw ghetto and later moved to the Majdanek concentration camp. Overcoming unspeakable acts of horror--Eva survived for five years in Nazi ghettoes and camps before being liberated by Allied Forces in the Spring of 1945. Like far too many Jewish families, nearly all of Eva's immediate and extended family were murdered in the Holocaust. Looking for a place to restart her life, Eva accepted the invitation and sponsorship of the Spokane Jewish community for resettlement in Spokane. Despite, initially not knowing English or having jobs, Eva and her husband Walter moved to Spokane where over the next 60 years they would become pillars of the Spokane community. Eva dedicated her entire adult life to what she often referred to as her obligation of survival--educating the world on the atrocities of the Holocaust and why it is so important to challenge hate wherever it may be. Eva told her story to thousands of elementary, junior high, high school, and college students throughout the Pacific Northwest. It has been said that, the exceptionality of Eva's experience is only paralleled by the exceptionality of her commitment to use that experience in making the world a better place. I could not agree more. To that end, Eva's life work is reflected in the countless awards and recognitions she received including the Carl Maxey Racial Justice Award and the inaugural Eva Lassman Award issued annually by Gonzaga University to honor an individual who has committed her or his life to challenging hate. As an active Letter to the Editor contributor, Eva's life and work inspired all those who heard her words to lead lives to reject hate and courageously combat evil. Of the 200,000 survivors of the Holocaust that were liberated in 1945, fewer and fewer are alive with each passing day. Mr. Speaker, Eva Lassman sadly passed away early this week and will be laid to rest tomorrow in Spokane, Washington. I urge all of my colleagues to honor Eva's legacy by continuing to spread her message of respect and tolerance.