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Statement from Senator George Allen

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006; 4:08 PM

ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator George Allen released the following statement this afternoon:

"Yesterday, I found it especially reprehensible that a reporter would impugn the attitudes of my mother, as Ms. Peggy Fox did in her first question at the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce Senate debate. My mother and father both taught me to abhor bigotry, and Ms. Fox's suggestion to the contrary was deeply offensive.

"The notion peddled by the Webb campaign that I am somehow embarrassed by my heritage is equally offensive, and also absurd.

"I was raised as a Christian and my mother was raised as a Christian. And I embrace and take great pride in every aspect of my diverse heritage, including my Lumbroso family line's Jewish heritage, which I learned about from a recent magazine article and my mother confirmed.

"On several occasions through the years, I have mentioned publicly that my mother's father was incarcerated by the Nazis. I have never known whether he was persecuted by the Nazis because of his nationality, his religious faith, his role as a community leader, or his part in the anti-Nazi resistance.

"What I do know is that my grandfather's imprisonment by the Nazis had a profound impact on my mother. It was a subject she found painful to discuss and so we almost never discussed it.

"Some may find it odd that I have not probed deeply into the details of my family history, but it's a fact. We in the Allen household were simply taught that what matters is a person's character, integrity, effort, and performance -- not race, gender, ethnicity or religion. And so whenever we would ask my mother through the years about our family background on her side, the answer always was, 'Who cares about that?'

"My mother has lived a long and full life, and I hope and pray she will enjoy many more years. She deserves respect and she also deserves privacy, especially where painful memories are concerned. I sincerely hope that simple decency will be respected."


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