Chris Friedrichs is Professor Emeritus of History at UBC where he taught European and world history for 45 years.

Here, Friedrichs initially describes Vrba as “fierce” and possessed of a certain European charm.


Christopher Friedrichs talks about the first time he heard Rudolf Vrba speak and how their acquaintance eventually turned into a friendship.


Friedrichs describes Vrba’s resentment about the deal made with Eichmann to get less than 2,000 Jews out of Poland via “Kasztner’s train” to Switzerland. These people eventually ended up in Palestine and became influential in the government of Israel. Vrba believed they did this at the cost of many thousands of other Jewish lives. Friedrichs became a closer friend after Vrba was the keynote speaker at a Kristallnacht commemoration event where he opined that the genocide was merely a smokescreen for the biggest robbery of property in the history of the world.


By the 1990s many of Vancouver’s Jews had come to appreciate that there were differing opinions regarding the State of Israel; some grew to venerate Vrba during the last years of his life.


Christopher Friedrichs talks about how Vrba liked to be addressed by people and the uninvited use of his nickname. He then speaks of the nature of their friendship.


Friedrichs recalls how Vrba often claimed he wanted to be remembered not as a Holocaust survivor, but as a scientist.