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Lessons from The Happiest Man on Earth: ‘After surviving Auschwitz, I believe that if you can hang on to hope, the body can do miraculous things’

Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku endured hell under the Nazis and lost many members of his family. After years of silence, the 100-year-old has released a memoir detailing his amazing life – and his blueprint for happiness

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Eddie Jaku, author and Auschwitz survivor

Eddie Jaku, author and Auschwitz survivor

Eddie Jaku, author and Auschwitz survivor

As everyone goes slightly around the bend from Lockdown 2.0 and we head into Lockdown 3.0: Dark at 4pm, an unexpected voice reaches us from Sydney, Australia, urging us to remain optimistic, that “life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful — it is up to you”. That voice is from a 100-year-old man who has recently published his first memoir.

Eddie Jaku — born Abraham ‘Adi’ Jakubowiez in 1920 in the German city of Leipzig — wrote The Happiest Man On Earth about what he calls his own “beautiful life”, in which he celebrates friendship, family, and the importance of hope, resilience, and his determination to be kind in the face of adversity. This may sound like just another schmaltzy self-help cash-in, the book’s USP being its author’s advanced age. Except it’s not.

Eddie Jaku is a Holocaust survivor whose parents and wider family were murdered in the camps, and who for decades never spoke about his experiences, or even told his two adult sons Michael and Andre what he had been through. It was just too hard, he said.


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