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Eddie Jaku OAM was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1920 to a loving family that regarded themselves as Germans first and Jewish in their home.
Life changed for Eddie when Hitler came to power. Eddie was beaten and arrested on Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, in November 1938 and taken to Buchenwald concentration camp. Eddie miraculously survived numerous camps, including Auschwitz and a death march. Both his parents were murdered in Auschwitz. He never had the chance to say goodbye to them.
Eddie married his wife Flore in Belgium, and the couple left to start a new life in Australia in 1950. The couple had two sons, Michael born in Belgium, and Andre born in Australia. They were blessed with many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Eddie was one of the founders of the Sydney Jewish Museum in 1992, where he began telling his story of survival. Eddie shared his pledge not to hate and his choice to be happy with thousands of people, young and old, across the world. Many who spoke to Eddie expressed that their meeting was a life-changing moment.
Eddie’s impact, as the ‘happiest man on earth’ will continue to be felt for generations to come. His powerful messages in his memoir, through our Dimensions in Testimony project, and the ongoing work of the Sydney Jewish Museum, will continue to educate people on the dangers of hate.
Eddie’s passing has left a huge void in the hearts of the entire Museum ‘family’. We send our condolences to his family and wish long life to all who were privileged to know him.
A truly remarkable individual.Learn More
The support of our members is essential to ensure the Sydney Jewish Museum can continue to educate and inspire students, teachers and general visitors on the history of the Holocaust and the important messages of Holocaust survivors. Our work inspires our audiences to be more empathetic, aware and driven to make positive change in the world.
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The Sydney Jewish Museum collection consists of over 12,000 artefacts and over 1,000 oral histories and testimonies.
The collection began when the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors approached their members in the late 1980s for Holocaust-related memorabilia to found a museum. When the Sydney Jewish Museum opened in 1992, these objects found a permanent home.
While our curators are constantly researching and updating records, where some items may not have been updated since their entry, we have taken the decision to make our collection open to you online.Discover collection
Now, more than ever, our societies need more individuals practising small acts of kindness on an everyday basis, working towards making the world a more accepting and welcoming place. In other words, we need more mensches.
Be a mensch is a reminder of the impact that kindness, humility, integrity and personal responsibility can have on the world – small acts that can make a better society, one person at a time. Be a mensch is a call for the lessons of history to inspire humanity and empathy.
A mensch, in Yiddish, is a person of integrity, morality, dignity, with a sense of what is right and responsible. But mensch is more than just an old Yiddish adage. It is relevant now, across the world, more than ever.Follow us on Instagram