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CORONA: Holocaust survivor to speak at library

CORONA: Holocaust survivor to speak at library

October 30, 2013

Rolf Gompertz, a speaker for the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, will speak in Corona on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Gompertz will give his address from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Corona Public Library, 650 S. Main St.

Gompertz’s speech will be preceded by a portion of a BBC special on the Kristallnacht (a wave of anti-Jewish violence). After the video will be the speech and a question-and-answer period.

Gompertz and his parents lived through the Kristallnacht on Nov. 9, 1938, and survived the invasion of their home that night by Nazis. His father defied the Nazis and, along with two other Jewish families who also endured that night, fled the country.

Gompertz’s parents moved to Los Angeles and he began the process of Americanization at 11.

After high school graduation, he enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Washington, D.C., to translate German documents. He received an award in 1948 for this work. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from UCLA.

He worked on a weekly newspaper for four years and joined the NBC publicity department, where he worked for 30 years, from 1957 to 1987. He taught at UCLA Extension for 32 years.

Gompertz supported a Holocaust program at UCLA and was recruited in 2006 by the Wiesenthal Center to lecture regularly on the impact of the Holocaust. During these years, he became an author, writing five books offering a revisionist view of Judaism.

He has maintained that those faced with the struggle between ideology and commitment “must choose humanity.” In a speech to his early hometown of Krefeld, Germany, on Nov. 9, 1988 — the anniversary of the beginning of the Holocaust — he emphasized to his German audience that reconciliation was essential and the bridges between peoples had to be built.