EDUCATION & CULTURE
Leland Huttner is a man on a mission: To teach the Holocaust, and to ensure that its lessons are not forgotten.
It is a mission with a two-fold objective: To create a beautiful physical place where the lessons of the Holocaust can be taught and learned, and to support and enable an educator to teach those lessons to the generations of the future.
And it is a mission with a very specific focus: the University of Denver.
Huttner, a lifelong Denverite, retired attorney and well-known community activist, has personal connections to both the Holocaust and DU, which makes his current project both understandable and natural.
His father was originally from Hungary and left, fortunately, before the Holocaust began, but his family, Huttner says, who resided in France, were all executed.
Huttner always thought about it, and today, he says, he sees the DU project as an opportunity to remember.
DU was the only choice that Huttner considered. He graduated from its law school in 1950 and has been a supportive alumnus ever since. He helped Rabbi Stanley M. Wagner create the Center for Judaic Studies in the 1970s and later became a longtime supporter of the Holocaust Awareness Institute.
Several years ago, he teamed up with Dr. Sarah Pessin, Associate Professor of Philosophy and the Emil and Eva Hecht Chair in Judaic Studies at DU, Sharon Fireman, co-director of the HAI, and others to get the ball rolling on the memorial-endowment idea.
In relatively short order they were able to enlist the enthusiastic support of DU Chancellor Dr. Robert Coombe.
Now, Huttner says the project is nearly halfway complete and is moving full steam ahead.