Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hiram Bingham IV

Cousin Toby in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York, sent me an email all about Hiram Bingham, IV.

Part of Toby's email gave me some details about Hiram Bingham:

Sometime ago, then Secretary of State Colin Powell gave a posthumous award for "constructive dissent" to Hiram (or Harry) Bingham IV.

For over fifty years, the State Department resisted any attempt to honor Bingham. For them, he was an insubordinate member of the US diplomatic service, a dangerous maverick who was eventually demoted. Now, after his death, he has been officially recognized as a hero.

Bingham came from an illustrious family. His father (on whom the fictional character Indiana Jones was based) was the archeologist who unearthed the Inca City of Machu Picchu, Peru in 1911.
I quickly found Hiram Bingham IV's web site and discovered that a postage stamp was issued in his memory in the US this year. There are more details about him there:
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 Meyerhoff, 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).


Robert Kim Bingham, Esq., website administrator & stamp-drive coordinator
In 1941, Bingham was transferred from Marseilles to Buenos Aires, where he kept an eye on the movements of Nazi war criminals.

There are lots of pictures and historical documents about Mr. Bingham and his activities on the web site. It's worth checking out.


Post a Comment

<< Home