Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku, who last year published his memoir “The Happiest Man in the World,” died on Tuesday, October 12, in Sydney, aged 101. The Australian-based German Jew survived the terrifying “Night of Crystals” of 1938, incarceration in the concentration camps of Buchenwald and Auschwitz, was spared by the nicknamed “Angel of Death” Josef Mengele, and resisted the “March of Death” in the winter of 1945.
The announcement of his death was issued by the Executive Director of the Jewish Council of the State of New South Wales, Darren Bark: “Eddie Jaku was a beacon of light and hope not only for our community, but for the world. remembered for the joy that followed him and for his constant resistance in the face of adversity”.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also paid tribute and praised Jaku’s decision to “make his life a testimony to how hope and love can triumph over despair and hatred.” “He will be sorely missed, especially in our Jewish community. It was an inspiration and a joy,” he added.
Australian Liberal Party treasurer and leader Josh Frydenberg, whose Jewish-Hungarian mother also survived the Holocaust and arrived in Australia in 1950 as a stateless child, said in turn that “Australia has lost a giant”: “He dedicated his life to educate others about the dangers of intolerance and the importance of hope,” Frydenberg stressed. “Marked by the past, he just looked ahead. May his story be told to future generations”, he concluded.
In his biography, which was released a few months after he turned 100, Jaku tells his story and the obstacles he had to face in life. “I’ve lived for a century and I know what it’s like to face evil head-on. I’ve seen the worst of humanity, the horrors of the extermination camps, the Nazi efforts to exterminate my life and the lives of all my people. me the happiest man on Earth,” he said.
Jaku was born Abraham Jakubowiez in April 1920 in the German city of Leipzig. His parents and many other family members did not survive World War II.