Tuesday, April 29, 2014


(Sacramento)  Assembly Speaker-Elect Toni Atkins today honored San Diegan Lou Dunst, a survivor of several Nazi concentration camps, as part of the Assembly’s Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies in the State Capitol.

“Holocaust Remembrance Day is an opportunity for us to recognize the suffering and the bravery of victims of the Holocaust while we also remind ourselves to guard against genocide in our own times,” says Atkins.  “As a teenager, Loud Dunst faced death and inhumanity numerous times, but today he spreads a message of love and healing.  We all have much to learn from Mr. Dunst.”

Dunst was living in the Ukrainian village of Jasnia when the Nazis took control. First, he and his siblings were barred from attending public schools.  Then, his father was conscripted into serving as a human minesweeper.  And finally, in 1944, his whole family was rounded up, along with the other members of the Jewish community from his village, and Lou began a terrifying odyssey to four different concentration camps via rail car.   This journey didn’t end until he was finally liberated from the Ebensee labor camp in Austria in 1945 by a company of General George Patton’s Third Army.

Lou lost his parents to the Holocaust, but, miraculously, his brother Irving and his sister Risi both survived.  Incredibly, he and his brother Irving managed to stay together during their imprisonment in concentration camps in Hungary, Poland, and Austria.  Twice the two brothers were herded into death chambers, but twice random circumstance saved their lives.  And, in the end, it was Irving who saved Lou’s life.

It was just before liberation that the typhus-ridden, emaciated, and broken 19 year old Lou Dunst lay himself on top of a pile of corpses, expecting to die.  He made a bargain with God: “Let me live so I can tell this story.” Twenty-one year old Staff Sergeant Bob Persinger was among the liberators.  Irving grabbed his sleeve and, pointing to his brother’s body on top of the corpses, he said, “Please save him!” And Lou was plucked from death’s arms.

The post war period found Lou sick, hungry, homeless and stateless, but with the help of surviving family members and the nuns at a Catholic hospital he finally recovered enough to begin putting his life back together.  His path took him to Rome, Canada, New York, Los Angeles and, finally, to San Diego.  Along the way, Lou built a thirty year career in business.

He also kept his bargain with God. He now spends much of his time telling his story as an inspirational writer and speaker.  His message is one of love and peace.

More information is available about Mr. Dunst at his website http://www.loudunst.com/index.html.

Speaker-Elect Toni Atkins recently met with Holocaust Survivor Lou Dunst in her San Diego office as part of Holocaust Remembrance activities.  Left to right: Estelle Dunst (Lou’s wife), Alberto Hamui (family friend), Speaker-Elect Atkins, Lou Dunst, Assemblymember Brian Jones.


Monday, April 28, 2014

NARAL Pro-Choice America Endorses Scott Peters for Congress

Leading women's health advocacy group says Peters is the leader women can count on

San Diego – Scott Peters received the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice America today, one of the nation's most prominent advocates for women's health care.

"We are proud to endorse Representative Scott Peters in his campaign for re-election in California's 52nd Congressional District. In the midst of the most aggressive anti-choice Congress in decades, women need outspoken advocates for their basic right to make their own health care decisions. It's not the government's business, and it's certainly not your boss's decision, and Scott Peters has stood up for those core civil rights his entire career,” said Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL. “This is not a moment in history that allows allies of women's health to remain silent, and Scott Peters has proven his willingness to stand up for what's right. NARAL is ready to make sure voters know that Scott Peters is the only candidate that can be counted on to protect the right to choose."

Peters received a 100% score from NARAL on their most recent Congressional scorecard. Throughout his career, he has been an outspoken, staunch supporter of women's right to choice and freedom to make personal healthcare decisions without interference from politicians.

"It's amazing in this day and age that we're still arguing over the basic right of women to make their own health care choices. It's clear that women should be free to make their own choices for their own health, and I remain committed to standing with groups like NARAL and women across the country to protect these basic rights,” Rep. Peters said. “It's equally clear that Congress has better things to do, and I remain adamant that Congress ought to be focused on providing more jobs and better opportunities for the very women who are instead being forced to defend their basic rights from constant attack."

Peters was also recently endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the national advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Scott Peters for Congress
4719 Viewridge Ave, Suite 130