Book Review The Happiest Man on Earth: The Beautiful Life of an Auschwitz Survivor by Eddie Jaku

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by SteveDee, Jun 27, 2023.

  1. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    This is a wonderful book.

    Eddie grew up in a happy, loving, well-to-do, German family.

    He considered himself German first and Jewish second. But his life was turned upside down in the 1930s. He was beaten up, locked up, tattooed, starved, frozen and put to work for the Nazi war machine.

    His tormentors not only included the Nazi sponsored groups but also ordinary German people, previously considered to be friends & neighbours. Then there were the kapos in the concentration camps, many of them fellow Jews.

    "Men & women I'd grown up with stood on the riverbanks, spitting and jeering as people struggled. 'Shoot them!' they cried. 'Shoot the Jewish dogs!'"

    "Each morning, the Nazis would play a terrible game. They would open the gates and let two or three hundred people go. When the poor people had made it 30 or 40 metres, the machine guns would start, gunning them down like animals."

    When WW2 ended he decided never to set foot on German soil again.

    He lived a rather depressed existence, even after he married the love of his life. But when his first son was born, everything changed for Eddie. He was truly happy again.

    Despite all this, he lived to the ripe old age of 101, and along the way became a peace ambassador and was decorated by the Australian government.

    Eddie's experiences in the 1930s are a reminder to me that social values are just a thin veneer covering our base human nature. I can't decide if we are basically good, bad or just herd animals. Eddie had his own ideas.

    "Please, every day, remember to be happy, and make others happy too. Make yourself a friend to the world. Do this for your new friend, Eddie."

    Eddie's TedTalk: A Holocaust survivor's blueprint for happiness
    14/264, papiermache, 4jonboy and 2 others like this.

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