Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku, 'The Happiest Man on Earth', dies aged 101
The Australian PM called Jaku an 'inspiration and a joy.'
Australian Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku, who became known for his bestselling memoir The Happiest Man on Earth, has passed away at the age of 101.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his death on Tuesday (October 12), saying: "Having survived the Holocaust, Eddie chose to make his life a testimony of how hope and love can triumph over despair and hate.
"He will be sadly missed, especially by our Jewish community. He was an inspiration and a joy.
"Shalom Eddie and thank you for your great gift to us all and our sincere condolences to all your loving family and friends."
First captured in 1938, Jaku was beaten by Nazis on the infamous Kristallnacht – the Night of Broken Glass – in November 1938, before being transported to Buchenwald concentration camp.
He managed to escape to Belgium and France but was recaptured and sent with his parents to Auschwitz. It was here that his parents perished in the gas chambers in 1944.
Jaku managed a miraculous escape from the brutal death march that Auschwitz inmates were forced on in 1945 and after days of hiding was rescued by American troops.
He then moved to Australia in 1950, to start a new life with his wife Flore.
Last year, he published his book The Happiest Man on Earth at the age of 100 after struggling to speak about his horrific experiences in Germany.
The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies said that the world was "a little less bright without him in it."
In a statement the board wrote: "Eddie Jaku was a beacon of light and hope for not only our community, but the world.
"He will always be remembered for the joy that followed him, and his constant resilience in the face of adversity.
"The world is a little less bright without him in it, and we will always treasure the memories and stories we were privileged to have heard.
"We wish the entire Jaku family a long life, may his memory be a blessing."
Eddie Jaku was a beacon of light and hope for not only our community, but the world. He will always be remembered for...
He volunteered for decades at the Sydney Jewish Museum, spreading his message of peace and forgiveness even further in a moving and hugely popular TED Talk.
In a tweet the museum wrote: "The passing of Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku OAM has left a huge void in the hearts of the Sydney Jewish Museum 'family'. Eddie’s impact, as the ‘happiest man on earth’ will be felt for generations to come."
“This is my message, as long as I live, I’ll teach not to hate.” The passing of Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku OAM has left a huge void in the hearts of the Sydney Jewish Museum 'family'. Eddie’s impact, as the ‘happiest man on earth’ will be felt for generations to come. pic.twitter.com/dwHN0nX1gY
— Sydney Jewish Museum (@SydJewishMuseum) October 12, 2021