Chris Nicola is sharing his secrets from Priest’s Grotto, a place he discovered nearly 17 years ago while looking for a cave 38 brave Jewish Holocaust survivors used to hide from the Nazi genocide.
Chris, inherently an adventurer and a Change Agent, has devoted more than three decades to the exploration of caves across the world from the former Soviet Union to the Caribbean, Europe, Oceana, the Americas and Africa. Yet, his life-long commitment is to raising awareness about the Holocaust genocide through the amazing and awe-inspiring story of the survivors who lived underground in a dark, 77-mile massive Ukrainian cave system for an excess of 500 days.
Priest’s Grotto is a place where Chris and a team of expert volunteers excavated a large amount of delicate archeological and historical artifacts. Not surprising considering the cave was a home to 38 people for about a year and a half.
Through Chris’ discovery, advocacy and a new documentary, the story of how two families lived in complete darkness only leaving the cave at night to search for food and supplies is able to remind us of the tragedy and need to promote human rights. Single-handedly, Chris worked to find the caves and share their Holocaust survival stories to inspire people around the world to come together.
There are two projects taking up much of Chris’ time. He’s working on The Priest’s Grotto Heritage Project, a genocide awareness program where he trains youth in Borchev to work as archeologists with local museum staff to locate, protect and preserve the cave artifacts.
He’s also created The Ukrainian American Youth Caver Exchange Foundation (UAYCEF) dedicated to protect Ukrainian caves while fostering the exchange of speleological (the study of caves) related information between young cavers in America and Ukraine. Chris serves as its director and frequently leads caving trips.
Intrigued? Read more about Chris and his amazing journeys as he works on his documentary on Changents.com.