Eddie Jaku has more than a century of wisdom and life experience to draw from, and he's using it to help people see the world more positively. This Holocaust survivor, 101-year-old, refers to himself as 'the happiest man on Earth.' Eddie Jaku is inspiring others to live their happiest lives after surviving Auschwitz.
The self-proclaimed "happiest man on the planet" has delivered a TED Talk and authored a book on his ideas. In his 2019 speech, he stated that all it takes to make him happy is a grin from "one miserable individual."
Jaku is also a survivor of the Holocaust: Eddie Jakubowicz was born in Germany. He stated that he was "very proud" to call the country home. "I believed I lived in Europe's most civilized, sophisticated, and probably most educated country. And I was born in Germany, raised in Germany, and raised in a Jewish household" as Jaku stated.
On Nov. 9, 1938, following the destruction of synagogues and Jewish houses, businesses, and other property by Nazi forces, Jaku returned home from boarding school to an empty home. He was transferred to Buchenwald, one of the first concentration camps, in the morning.
Jaku and his family reconnected, escaped, and lived in hiding over the course of several years. However, in 1943, they were captured and deported to Auschwitz. "I was ultimately brought to Auschwitz, my personal hell on Earth," Jaku explained. "Along with my sister, my parents were deported to Auschwitz, and I was never to see them again."
The Holocaust claimed almost six million Jewish lives. Jaku was placed on a "death march" in 1945 but fled into the bush. In June of that year, he was rescued. "What I have witnessed is unbelievable," Jaku stated. "I tell people this, but they refuse to believe it."
Jaku stated that he was miserable following the war until he met his wife, Flore, and began a family. "Eighty years ago, I never imagined I would have a wife, children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren," Jaku explained. "And this, my friends, is a blessing."
Jaku stated that despite his experiences, he does not have any animosity toward anyone. "Hate is a sickness that will not only destroy your adversary but will also destroy you," Jaku stated in his 2019 TED Talk. "Wherever there is life, there is also hope. If there is no more hope, you have reached the end "he continued.
Family and friends are critical components of that hope, Jaku stated. "Friendship is irreplaceable," he stated. "Shared pain is half the pain, but shared pleasure is double the pleasure." Jaku stated that he has learned throughout the course of his long life that "this life may be wondering if you make it beautiful." "I speak about happiness and what life can be," Jaku explained to Smith. "If you are in good health, you are a millionaire."
He expressed hope that his tale might motivate others to make positive decisions on a daily basis. "I want to improve this world for everyone," Jaku stated. "I want everyone to take a moment to reflect and say, 'We are here for everyone.'"