Heroic lawyer passes

Allan Gerson took on some pretty tough challenges as a lawyer. He went after Nazi war criminals and nations that sponsored terrorism.

Indeed, he was the force behind getting compensation for the families of the victims lost to the bombing of a Pam Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. All onboard — 259 people — perished, as well as 11 on the ground.

Gerson passed away December 1, at the age of 74. The New York University Law School graduate was lauded by many for his groundbreaking work.

It was no easy road, winning compensation for those victims. Even though it was established that Libya had sponsored the bombing, nations had protections from being sued.

So he went to Congress and lobbied for the passage of bills that would get around those protections. These laws made foreign nations accountable for the deaths of U.S. citizens from terrorist acts.

That’s led lawyers to successfully sue nations such as Iran and entities such as the Palestine Liberation Organization.

He lived quite the life. His parents had to flee Poland because of the Holocaust and came to his country illgally. He noted how he was like today's Dreamers, young people who were brought here as children illegally and could face deportion.

He wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post, noting how difficult that is. His family lived under false names until he was 13, which is when they were finally granted citizenship.

“That is why I identify with the dreamers of today, who stand to be deprived of life as they know it, shipped off to some land they hardly recognize,” he wrote. “But for dint of circumstance, I might be in their boots.”