COURAGEOUS DISSENT: How Harry Bingham Defied His Government to Save Lives By Robert Kim Bingham

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This is the first published book about U.S. Vice Consul Hiram (Harry) Bingham IV, unsung rescuer in Nazi France during 1940-41, who saved many refugees in defiance of his superiors' restrictive immigration policies. His humanitarian actions were discovered only after his death in 1988 at the age of 84, and in 2002 the U.S. State Department posthumously awarded him the "Constructive Dissent" award. In 2006, the U.S. postal service issued a stamp portraying Hiram Bingham IV as a "Distinguished American Diplomat." The book COURAGEOUS DISSENT is written by his son Robert Kim Bingham, Esq., retired lawyer from the Department of Homeland Security general counsel's office.

When hope was gone in the moral void which engulfed the world, "Harry" Bingham was one of the few stars piercing the darkness. He helped rescue renowned painter Marc Chagall, Nobel laureate Otto Meyrhof, and author Lion Feuchtwanger, when the Gestapo was knocking on doors in 1940-1941 at the homes of the intelligentsia.

In defiance of strict State Department mandates Bingham helped save these revered minds and thousands of innocent others during the early hellish years of World War II. Bingham was stationed in Marseilles as a US vice consul in charge of issuing visas, when he began sheltering Jews in his villa, obtaining forged identity papers to help them in their dangerous journey out of Europe. Bingham also worked with the French underground to smuggle Jews out of France into Spain or across the Mediterranean, even contributing to their expenses out of his own pocket.

In his book "COURAGEOUS DISSENT: How Harry Bingham Defied His Government to Save Lives," Robert Kim Bingham, Sr. gives a son's account of his father's extraordinary actions. Not only risking his career but his life, Hiram Bingham IV never hesitated to issue visas to Jews and non-Jews fleeing Hitler's bloodthirsty campaign.

An unassuming man, Bingham rarely brought up his actions with any of his eleven children he had with his devoted wife of 54 years, Rose. After his death, family members and museums found many documents attesting to his quiet heroism. Along with verbatim reprints of those documents in the appendices, Robert Kim Bingham, Sr. has included a timeline of Bingham's involvement in France during his tenure there.

"Harry Bingham...risked his life and career, put it on the line, to help over 2,500 Jews and others who were on Nazi death lists."
-Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State, June 2002.

"I want particularly 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."

  • Excerpt from a letter written by Thomas Mann, author and Nobel Prize recipient, to Hiram Bingham IV.

Author Robert Kim Bingham, Esq., is retired from the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security general counsel's office, where he served for 37 years. He lives in Salem, Connecticut.

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