Feb 282005
Authors: Megan Schulz

A Denver-based photographer returns to CSU Wednesday to present powerful images in remembrance of the Holocaust.

Nick Del Calzo will present a slide show of photos of Holocaust victims from his book "The Triumphant Spirit: Portraits and Stories of Holocaust Survivors and their Messages of Hope and Compassion" at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

"He has done a lot of work with capturing stories of survivors of the Holocaust," said Jenn Christ, a student affairs and higher education graduate student and member of Hillel, CSU's Jewish student organization. "That's important because the survivors aren't going to be around forever, so this is one way to capture their stories forever. (We can) transition the Holocaust through the future by having a wide variety of programs that tell the stories through multiple forms."

Hillel Director Hedy Berman said Del Calzo was chosen because his presentation relates to the theme of the ninth Annual Holocaust Awareness Week at CSU. The theme is "60 years of Liberation: Every Face has a Number. Every Number has a Face."

"When we talk about the theme, the whole idea was to really focus on the survivors this year," Berman said. "(We wanted) to really connect faces with what seems like an incomprehensible number. Nick (Del Calzo) seemed to work in well there because he has portraits of survivors and tells their stories and the lessons to be learned from them."

This is not the first time Del Calzo has visited CSU. He displayed "The Triumphant Spirit" presentation in 1997 during CSU's first Annual Holocaust Awareness Week. Del Calzo also taught a junior-level public relations course for one semester at CSU in 1976.

"I had remembered his slide show and I had a copy of his book," said Berman. "The photographs are just beautiful."

Del Calzo said he wants students to attend the presentation to realize the most important decision they could make in their lives is to have a big dream.

"I certainly look forward to the opportunity to talk to young people about fulfilling and pursuing their dreams and this project is an illustration of that," said Del Calzo, photographer and creator of the "Triumphant Spirit" Project. "It's both about the opportunity to talk about the Holocaust and some amazing people who (survived) that experience but also it illustrates that it's important to have a dream for your life and never to give up hope on that dream."

Del Calzo said the idea for his project came about by accident. He took a trip to Europe by himself in 1991 and stopped overnight in Dachau, Germany, the location of a notorious Nazi concentration camp that has been turned into a memorial museum for the prisoners.

"I felt compelled to stay overnight and go to the camp," said Del Calzo. "(That experience) really related to experiences I had while in high school and college when I did term papers on the Holocaust. ("The Triumphant Spirit") helped fulfill one of my personal goals through photography to help touch thousands of peoples of lives in a personal way."

Berman said a wide variety of students could benefit from attending the presentation.

"I think it's important for anyone to go to it," she said. "It doesn't make a difference what faith or religion you are from. The lessons to be learned are the lessons of (where) intolerance and bigotry can lead."

Jenn Christ agreed the concept of genocide is something that still needs awareness throughout the future.

"The mass killing of people, for whatever the reason is, needs to be kept aware because it's not a concept that will never happen again because there is always potential for it to happen," Christ said.

"I also think it's important to hear these stories because unfortunately the last survivors are going to be gone before to long," said Berman. "It's the last opportunity to hear first-hand from people who have experienced it instead of reading it from a history textbook."

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