“ALL my life I was happy with what I have.”
There is so much that could be said about Eddie Jaku, a man who inspired everybody he met with his zest for life, his refusal to be bitter about the horrors he experienced in the Shoah and his lessons about humility, love and the importance of family.
But the above words from his last AJN interview – such simple wisdom yet often lost in an age of busy lives, distractions and material aspiration – encapsulate so beautifully what made Eddie Jaku special.
The love and admiration so many had for Eddie has been apparent this week with an outpouring of tributes to this incredible man from all walks of life – from the Prime Minister and other political leaders, to Jewish communal leaders and organisations, to members of the community simply posting comments on The AJN Facebook page.
All glowing and heartfelt words for a man who saw the worst of humanity yet remained an optimist all of his days.
As a founder of the Sydney Jewish Museum (SJM), it was important for Eddie to share his story of survival to ensure that the horrors of the Holocaust are never repeated.
But it was equally important that he share what truly matters in life – being happy, appreciating life’s simple pleasures and loving family unconditionally in spite of their flaws.
Ever the optimist, when the pandemic thwarted his 100th birthday bash last year, he said, “It’s not cancelled, it’s postponed.
“When this is all finished, we’ll have a big party.”
Eddie is gone but he remains with us.
He lives on in the hearts of his family and our community. He lives on in the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the SJM he inspired, in those who watched his TEDx talk and those who read his book.
He lives on because of the wisdom he shared so generously and selflessly with so many.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife of 75 years, Flore, sons Andre and Michael, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
May his memory be a blessing.