The Happiest Man On Earth
All I can say is WOW!
Eddie Jaku was first and foremost a German, and secondly a Jew. He was a proud German man, who considered himself lucky to be born in such a forward thinking nation. All this changed in what seemed like an instant.
Eddie was a very bright and well educated young man, he was studying engineering abroad, when he thought to surprise his parents and return home for their 20th Wedding anniversary. When he returned to his beloved family home, he was shocked to find the place empty, with only his little dog Lulu left behind. Eddie opted to stay the night in his family home, where in the middle of the night, he would be attacked by Nazis, his beloved Lulu murdered, and sent off with a truck load of other Jews - this was the infamous night of Kristallnacht.
This would be the beginning of a brutal journey for Eddie, where he would experience the cruelest act in history, first hand. He would travel from one concentration camp to another, one of them being the infamously brutal Auschwitz. Here, he would witness the death of his much loved parents.
Eddie was spared from death multiple times due to his extensive education. The Nazis saw him as an asset to them, and was used for numerous different jobs, most commonly used to fix complex machinery with his vast knowledge of engineering - without him, the machines would be useless.
Eddie would go on to witness death, torture and brutality all whilst developing what he called his richest asset - friendship. He credits his relationships and friendships as his motivation for survival, and going by the story of his friendship with fellow survivor Kurt, he was responsible for saving the lives of others too.
As I read Eddie’s story, there wasn’t a chapter that at least one tear wasn’t shed, it was raw, it was sad, it was beautiful and it was incredibly inspiring. I felt honoured, as if Eddie was talking straight to me. You can feel the emotion in each and every word. You feel as if your travelling directly by his side throughout, and can almost feel his smile as he talks about his life after the war, meeting his wife and holding his sons for the first time - and his smile is definitely infectious!
This book has honestly changed my outlook on life, it has put everything into perspective for me. As he says “Life can be beautiful, if you make it beautiful. It’s up to you.”
From this day on, I will always try to choose beautiful, and I will call my mum as often as I can, and tell her that I love her - for my new friend Eddie, who can no longer tell his.
In conclusion, I recommend that everyone reads this book. Not only is it a great source of education, but also gives the reader hope. Hope that good people still exist in this world.