Really Cool People

I’ve met some really interesting people in my short life, and a few of them were, or have become, famous. I just found a newspaper clipping in my house that my parents cut out from April 10th. It was an obituary for a man named Rudolf ‘Rudi’ Vrba. He was the husband of Robin Vrba, a well known and very nice realtor in Vancouver who works in my mom’s Re/Max office. I still remember meeting Rudi at a Re/Max function down at the yacht club by Jericho Beach about 5 years ago. He told me about Gdansk, a town on the Baltic sea and although I don’t remember the fine details anymore, I do remember that it was very interesting and since then I’ve always wanted to go there.

It turns out that Dr Vrba is a rather famous man. Not only was he a distinguished medical researcher and professor at UBC, but he was one of the two men who authored the very famous Auschwitz Protocols, sometimes called the Vrba-Wetzler report, after they escaped from Auschwitz in 1944. Vrba and Wetzler were the first two of only five Jews who ever escaped the death camp. The report was the first detailed information about the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau and is considered one of the most important documents of the 20th century. You can read more about Dr Vrba, his amazing escape and later life at or google his name.

Another, perhaps slightly less famous, person I know has recently started a petition which I think should be signed by anyone with a conscience. I spent a week in Toronto in 2002 with Nazanin Afshin-Jam and a bunch of other people, including my sister and Chris Kramer among others. Kramer may be familiar to some as the star of the TV series “The Collector.” See for more on that.

Anyways, Nazanin became Miss Canada in 2003 and placed 2nd in the Miss World competition. She did the same two majors as me at UBC and even went to Herstmonceux Castle in her first year, like I did several years after her. Right now she has started a worldwide petition to save a girl in Iran, also named Nazanin, from being hanged for killing a man in self-defence. I was the 22,472nd person to sign so far. I encourage you to check out the petition info at and sign it (and tell your friends/post it on your site).

If you’ve seen the music video for Bif Naked‘s awesome song “Tango Shoes” you’ve seen Nazanin – she’s the girl in the diner in the snowglobe. If you want to know more about the Canadian Nazanin, you can check out her site and preview her upcoming album from Bodog Music at or her MySpace site at