The Happiest Man on Earth

Eddie Jaku

The Happiest Man on Earth



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The Happiest Man on Earth tells the incredible story of Eddie Jaku, who went through hell on earth during one of the darkest chapters in human history: the Nazi concentration camps. His story starts with his childhood in Germany, during which he always felt that he was German before he was Jewish. The events that followed, however, would convince him otherwise, and at the end of World War II, he moved to Australia to start a new, safe life. Eddie’s is an extremely poignant account of an extermination camp survivor: his voice is full of hope, and he strongly urges us to live our lives to the full, and to always be grateful, and above all, happy. Despite his horrific experiences, he described himself as the happiest man in the world, and this alone is enough to make this book a must-read. 

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Analysis and key concepts


Eddie Jaku was born in Germany in 1920, he loved his homeland, and fled the Nazis


Buchenwald was only the first camp where Eddie Jaku was taken: he always managed to escape, either because he was considered essential or because he ran away


According to Jaku, having loved ones to live for is key to survival


Eddie Jaku learned his greatest lesson in life from his father


It is important to have faith and to do good in life




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Many useful tips to:

  • Learn about the story of Eddie Jaku, a survivor of the Nazi death camps.
  • Read a first-hand account of someone who went through hell on earth and came out stronger on the other side.
  • Discover why Eddie Jaku calls himself ‘the happiest man on earth’.
  • Discover a new perspective on history through the story of one survivor.

Eddie Jaku was a survivor of several Nazi death camps. He was born in Germany in 1920 and was later expelled from school under the racial laws of 1938. He continued his studies under a false identity in Belgium and became a skilled worker. He was captured and deported to Buchenwald but then managed to escape. In 1945, he was sent on a death march and was saved by the Allies. He moved to Australia in 1950 and lived a long and happy life with his family. He passed away in October 2001 at the age of 101. The Happiest Man on Earth has been translated into 37 languages.

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