Eddie Jaku, a Holocaust survivor who became a well known peace activist, has died at the age of 101.
Jaku, who described himself as the “happiest man on earth,” dedicated his life to advocating for peace and kindness as the best revenge for the suffering he experienced. During the Holocaust, he survived four concentration camps, was part of bold escape on a train, ran away from a death march and spent time hiding in a forest until the war ended where he would have died of malnutrition if he had not crawled out to a highway where an American soldiers rescued him.
"I do not hate anyone. Hate is a disease which may destroy your enemy, but will also destroy you," he once said.
Jaku, who was born in Germany and was sent to Buchenwald and later Auschwitz where his parents were murdered, immigrated to Australia in 1950 with his wife and sister.
Jaku published his autobiography in 2020 when he turned 100-years old.
“The Happiest Man on Earth” was a memoir that detailed his survival during the Holocaust. It also spoke about his philosophy of tolerance and kindness.
The publication of the book meant he was one of the oldest authors in the world.
In the book he wrote: "I have lived for a century, and I know what it is to stare evil in the face… I have seen the very worst in mankind, the horrors of the death camps, the Nazi efforts to exterminate my life, and the lives of all people. But I now consider myself the happiest man on earth."
According to BBC News, Jaku died at a nursing home in Sydney.
In 2013, he was awarded the Order of Australia medal for his service to the Jewish community.
Jaku was a longtime volunteer at the Sydney Jewish Museum where he shared his remarkable story with visitors.
Noting that his message was “As long as I live, I’ll teach not to hate,” the Sydney Jewish Museum said in a statement: “The passing of Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku OBM has left a huge void in the hearts of the Sydney Jewish Museum 'family'. Eddie’s impact, as the ‘happiest man on earth’ will be felt for generations to come.”