75 Years Later: Fighting Antisemitism
and Holocaust Denial Today and Tomorrow
Hannah Lessing is the Secretary General of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism. Hannah looks after approximately 30,000 survivors, seeking reconciliation for them with the state of Austria.
Hannah has been responsible for the administrative and organizational management of the National Fund since 1995, as well as the General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism since 2001, and the Fund for the Restoration of the Jewish Cemeteries in Austria since 2010. Hannah is co-head of the Austrian Delegation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), a member of the Austrian delegation at the negotiations on the Washington Agreement on Compensation, and has lectured extensively on the National Fund and General Settlement Fund (as well as in connection with international commemoration activities regarding the Holocaust).
Ambassador Felix Klein is the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Anti-Semitism. After studying law, Felix completed training for the diplomatic service with the Federal Foreign Office from 1994 to 1996. He served as the German Foreign Ministry’s liaison to Germany's Jewish community, which included representing Berlin to US-Jewish groups or the International Holocaust Remembrance Authority (IHRA). Felix has also served in the Federal Foreign Office as Special Representative for Relations with Jewish Organizations and Issues relating to Anti-Semitism. In his current role, Felix coordinates the German government’s various efforts to combat anti-Semitism, and promotes awareness of issues of Jewish concern within Germany.
Mark Weitzman is the Director of Government Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, architect of IHRA's adoption of the Working Definition of Antisemitism, and lead author of IHRA's Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion. Mark is an expert on trends in antisemitism, and is a winner of the 2007 National Jewish Book Award for best anthology for "Antisemitism, the Generic Hatred: Essays in Memory of Simon Wiesenthal," which he co-edited and contributed to.
Mark is a member of the advisory panel of "Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief" of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Co-Chair of the Working Group on International Affairs of the Global Forum on Antisemitism, participant in the program on Religion and Foreign Policy of the Council on Foreign Relations, board member and former Vice-President of the Association of Holocaust Organizations, member of the official Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Group of New York, and previous member of the advisory board of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy at Yale University.
Shimon Fogel (moderator) is the CEO for CIJA (Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs). Shimon graduated from Clark University's School of Government and International Relations, pursued graduate and doctoral studies at McGill University, and holds rabbinic ordination. Shimon has served as Director of Government Relations of the Canada-Israel Committee, the founding National Director of Community Services at Canadian Jewish Congress, a consultant to Parliament's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, and member of the Round Table on Global Security under the Department of National Defense.
In 2002, Shimon introduced the concept of the Shared Values strategy as a basis for securing support for Israel that has now been adopted by much of the international pro-Israel advocacy community, including Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2005, he developed a model for moving to sustainable peace in the Middle East that focuses on conflict management rather than conflict resolution – an approach that has won broad support internationally. Shimon has also written and lectured extensively in Canada and internationally on matters of public policy, and has been engaged by numerous groups including the Assembly of First Nations, the World Sikh Organization and the Canadian Tibet Committee to advise on strategic planning and advocacy.
The Hill Times recognized Fogel as one of the 100 most influential actors within the political sector, and Embassy Magazine ranked him among the 50 most important people influencing Canadian foreign policy.