Aubrey Diem

In 1960, Aubrey Diem left his native Detroit, Michigan in the U.S. to move to Canada, where he taught Geography at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, and later became a Canadian citizen. He loved to travel, and saw much of the world multiple times. Through his journeys and love of history, he became deeply interested in world affairs and other peoples. He held two PhD’s.

Aubrey Diem’s life was devoted to photojournalism and writing on history, geography and politics. One of his works was a WW 2 political novel set in the Italian Alps on the border with Switzerland, called “First Rains of Autumn”. Others dealt with the Holocaust, government bureaucracy, and insights into German and Swiss politics and economics.

Aubrey Diem came to Switzerland in 1968 in search of a new home. He found it in Zinal, a small village in the mountains of Canton Valais, south of the town of Sierre.

Less than a year before Aubrey’s passing back in July 2015, Bob Zanotti got together with him in the Italian town of Domodossola, at the south end of the Simplon Pass and rail tunnel, both of which have great historical importance. That reportage can be found under “Where To Go”. (For more of Aubrey Diem see, “The Simplon Pass”, “The Great St. Bernard Pass”, “Domodossola”, and Zinal under Features).

In this particular chat in a Domodossola café, Bob got more about Aubrey’s personal story.

Aubrey had a wry sense of humor. He could also be cynical. Here are a few of his favorite sayings:

– The masses are asses.

– Life is a terminal disease.

Life is like a roll of toilet paper: The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.

– When a doctor makes a mistake, they bury the evidence.

– Visitors are like fish: after three days they start to smell.