Skip to Main Content

Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "The Happiest Man on Earth" by Eddie Jaku

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"The Happiest Man on Earth" by Eddie Jaku

  1. How does Eddie Jaku define happiness in the context of his life experiences, particularly as a Holocaust survivor? What lessons can we learn from his definition of happiness?

  2. Jaku emphasizes the power of forgiveness and compassion throughout the memoir. Discuss instances in the book where Jaku demonstrates forgiveness, both towards others and towards himself. What role does forgiveness play in his pursuit of happiness?

  3. The memoir is structured around Jaku's experiences during the Holocaust, including his time in concentration camps such as Auschwitz. How does Jaku convey the horrors of the Holocaust while also emphasizing resilience, hope, and humanity?

  4. Jaku often reflects on the importance of gratitude and kindness in his life. How do these themes manifest in his interactions with others, both during and after the Holocaust? How do acts of kindness contribute to his sense of happiness?

  5. Jaku's story highlights the impact of trauma and loss on individuals and communities. How does he cope with survivor's guilt and the loss of loved ones? How does he find meaning and purpose in the aftermath of such profound suffering?

  6. Jaku emphasizes the importance of living each day to the fullest and finding joy in the present moment. How does he cultivate a positive mindset despite his traumatic past? What strategies does he use to maintain optimism and resilience?

  7. Discuss the role of friendship and community in Jaku's life. How do his relationships with others, both fellow survivors and new friends, support his journey towards happiness and healing?

  8. Jaku reflects on the enduring legacy of the Holocaust and the importance of bearing witness to history. How does he advocate for remembrance and education about the Holocaust? In what ways does his memoir contribute to this mission?

  9. Jaku's story raises questions about the nature of evil and the capacity for compassion within humanity. How does he reconcile his experiences of cruelty and suffering with his belief in the inherent goodness of people?

  10. Reflecting on Jaku's story, what insights or lessons can readers apply to their own lives? How does his journey inspire readers to cultivate resilience, gratitude, and compassion in the face of adversity?

Early Life and Holocaust Experience: Eddie Jaku was born on April 3, 1920, in Leipzig, Germany. He grew up in a loving Jewish family and worked in his family's business. However, his life drastically changed with the rise of the Nazi regime.

During World War II, Eddie Jaku and his family were persecuted by the Nazis due to their Jewish heritage. In 1942, Jaku was deported to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where he endured unimaginable suffering, including forced labor, starvation, and the loss of loved ones.

Despite facing the horrors of the Holocaust, Jaku survived and was eventually liberated by Allied forces in 1945. He was one of the few remaining survivors of Auschwitz.

Post-War Life and Career: After the war, Eddie Jaku rebuilt his life, eventually immigrating to Australia in 1950 with his wife and son. Settling in Sydney, he established himself as a successful businessman and became actively involved in his local community.

Throughout his life, Jaku dedicated himself to educating others about the Holocaust and promoting messages of tolerance, understanding, and compassion. He frequently shared his experiences as a survivor through speaking engagements, school visits, and community events.

Author and Advocate: In 2020, at the age of 100, Eddie Jaku published his memoir, "The Happiest Man on Earth." The book chronicles his experiences during the Holocaust and his journey to finding happiness and purpose in the aftermath of such profound suffering.

"The Happiest Man on Earth" quickly gained widespread acclaim for its powerful message of resilience, forgiveness, and the triumph of the human spirit. Jaku's memoir has touched the hearts of readers around the world and continues to inspire people to embrace life with gratitude and compassion.

Legacy: Eddie Jaku's life story serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring power of hope in the face of adversity. Through his advocacy, education, and writing, he has made a significant impact in preserving the memory of the Holocaust and promoting messages of peace and understanding.

Eddie Jaku's legacy continues to inspire future generations to confront hatred and bigotry with empathy and compassion, ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten.


Westwood Public Library

Main Library

660 High Street
Westwood, MA 02090
Email Main Library

Islington Branch

273 Washington Street
Westwood, MA 02090
Email Branch Library