Reading, Pa. – The Edwin & Alma N. ’51 Lakin Holocaust Resource Center at Albright College presents the 13th annual Richard J. Yashek Memorial Lecture, “Confronting Holocaust Denial and Distortion in Today’s World,” featuring Mark Weitzman, on Tuesday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the College’s Wachovia Theatre.
Weitzman, who serves as director of government affairs and the director of the Task Force Against Hate and Terrorism for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, will discuss modern-day antisemitism, Holocaust denial and current events. Weitzman is the center’s chief representative to the United Nations in New York.
Weitzman is a member of the official U.S. delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Authority, where he chairs the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial. He co-chairs the Working Group on International Affairs of the Global Forum on Antisemitism, and is a participant in the program on Religion and Foreign Policy of the Council on Foreign Relations. Weitzman is also a board member and former vice president of the Association of Holocaust Organizations, and was a member of the advisory board of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy at Yale University, as well as a longtime member of the official Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Group of New York.
The author of numerous publications, Weitzman co-edited “Antisemitism, The Generic Hatred: Essays in Memory of Simon Wiesenthal,” which won the 2007 National Jewish Book Award in the category of anthologies. He is also the co-author of “Dismantling the Big Lie: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
The Edwin & Alma N. ’51 Lakin Holocaust Resource Center is a joint effort between Albright and the Jewish Federation of Reading. The HRC contains more than 2,800 volumes of text and audio-visual materials that support its mission to educate the community about the Holocaust and other genocides.
Richard J. Yashek, for whom the lecture is named, was born in Luebeck, Germany, in 1929. In 1941, the Yashek family was deported to Latvia, and in March 1942, they were separated. Yashek stayed with his father while his younger brother went with his mother. He never saw his mother and brother again. In October 1944, his father was separated from him and never seen again.
Yashek survived several concentration camps and eventually came to the United States with the help of members of his mother’s family. He worked for the family business, J.C. Ehrlich Co. Inc., in Pottsville, served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953, and completed his high school GED while in the service. After his tour of duty, Yashek resumed working for J.C. Ehrlich as a technician and retired as company vice president in 1999. A Reading resident, Yashek died in 2005.
The Wachovia Theatre is located in the Center for the Arts on the Albright College campus at 13th and Bern streets, Reading.