Richard J. Yashek was born in Luebeck, Germany, on February 15, 1929. He, his parents and younger brother Jochen lived a normal life until 1935, when Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party began to change the daily life of all German Jews. In 1941, the Yashek family was deported to Latvia. In March 1942, the family was separated. Richard stayed with his father; his younger brother with his mother. Richard never saw his mother and brother again. In October 1944, his father was separated from him and never seen again.
Yashek survived 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, while he took English courses in the evening with a German teacher at the high school. He 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 in the Army he returned and resumed working for J. C. Ehrlich Co. as a technician. While working at the Williamsport office, he was introduced to Rosalye Levine, a librarian at the Montoursville High School. In early 1954 he proposed and on November 14, 1954, they were married. In February 1955 he was transferred to the Lancaster office. While living in Lancaster, his wife gave birth to daughters Linda and Kimberly. In 1977 the Yasheks moved to Reading. At the time of his retirement, Richard was vice president of J. C. Ehrlich Co. He died in April 2005 and is survived by his wife, Rosalye, his two daughters and three grandchildren.
The Richard J. Yashek Memorial Lecture occurs annually in the spring at Albright College. The spring of 2018 marks the 14th annual lecture in this unique series. Thanks to the generosity of the Yashek family, scholars are able to share their research with the Albright and greater Reading communities in the hope of ensuring that we never forget the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides.
For more information about the Richard J. Yashek Memorial Lectures, please email the Lakin Holocaust Library & Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018: Dr. Michael Berenbaum (American Jewish University)
Not Your Father's Antisemitism
2017: Mark Weitzman (Simon Wiesenthal Center)
Confronting Holocaust Denial and Distortion in Today's World
2016: Dr. Paul B. Jaskot (DePaul University)
A Plan, A Testimony, and a Digital Map: Architecture and the Spaces of the Holocaust
2015: Dr. James Grymes (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
Violins of Hope: Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind's Darkest Hour
2014: Dr. Hasia Diner (New York University)
American Jews and the Myth of Silence After the Holocaust, 1945-1962
2013: Dr. Danna Nolan Fewell (Drew University)
Representing the Irreparable: The Shoah in the Art of Samuel Bak
2012: Dr. Rebecca Boehling (University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus)
Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust
2011: Dr. James Waller (Keene State University)
Becoming Evil—How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing
2010: Dr. Richard J. Goslan (Texas A&M University)
The Crisis of French Holocaust Memory in the New Millennium
2009: Dr. Daniel H. Magilow (University of Tennessee)
Anne Frank & Kitty Weicherz—Memories of the Holocaust
2008: Dr. Doris L. Bergen (University of Toronto)
Were the Nazis Christians?
2007: Dr. Sara R. Horowitz (York University)
Mothers & Daughters and the Holocaust
2006: Dr. Vicki Caron (Cornell University)
Prelude to Vichy: Anti-Semitism in France During the 1930’s
2005: Dr. Jeffrey Shandler (Rutgers University)
Living Room Witnesses: The Holocaust on American Television
The Holocaust Studies Program at Albright College offers an interdisciplinary framework for the investigation of ethical and moral choices. Studying the Holocaust shows that reason and good intentions are frequently unstable and often displaced by ruthless force. The involved faculty expect students to confront such issues as prejudice, racism and stereotyping, as well as silence and apathy in multiple contexts. Through a combination of historical, literary and religious case studies, students should develop an awareness of the value of tolerance in a pluralistic society, one that extends beyond Judaism and anti-Semitism to include other social groups by challenging bigotry and exclusion in any form.
The Holocaust Studies Program at Albright is supported by the Lakin Holocaust Library & Resource Center, a joint effort between the college and the Jewish Federation of Reading. The HRC contains over 2800 volumes of text and audio-visual materials that support its' mission to educate the community about the Holocaust and other genocides.