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Chris Nicola          

Explorer and Author of "The Secret of Priest's Grotto: A Holocaust Survival Story"

In the Mid 70’s Chris Nicola began his life as an explorer by scuba diving in the caves of central Florida, in conjunction with 10 years of ocean diving, spending many hours on the wrecks off of North Carolina. To date, he has participated, organized and/or lead over 40 caving expeditions in the Americas, Oceana, Africa, Caribbean and Europe.

Today he spends most of his free time caving, being a public speaker, and further developing a story that he first heard as a rumor in Ukraine 20 years ago; a story of how a group of Jews survived the Holocaust by living in a cave for over a year. To date, he has confirmed the story by locating 14 of the original 38 cave dwellers, co-authored a book that led to the making of a documentary about their experiences. Nicola runs the Priest’s Grotto Heritage Project; a genocide awareness project in which the grandchildren of those who lived in Priest’s Grotto Cave during the Holocaust will be working hand-in-hand with the grandchildren of those who lived above the cave in building an exhibit to honor what those courageous 38 did so long ago, and hopefully, by keeping this story alive for future generations, prevent such genocides as the Holocaust from ever happening again.

As a graduate of 3 state police academies and recipient of specialized training from the FBI and NYPD his law enforcement career has spanned 37 years. He has earned undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice, Physics, and Forensic Psychology; an MA in Criminology; completed post-graduate work while enrolled in a Criminology PhD program, and is currently pursuing a Forensic Science MS and Film BA.

Speech Topics


The Secret of Priest's Grotto; A Holocaust Survival Story

The story of how 38 Jews survived the Holocaust by taking refuge in a cave for over 500 days, and the story of how a caver spent 20 years researching a rumore, to the point of confirming the story, finding the survivors, and then telling this story to the World by way of a book and a documentary.

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