Holocaust Survivor Living in Israel May be World’s Oldest Man

Yisrael Kristal, World's Oldest Living Man (Photo: Facebook)

Born on September, 15, 1903 and still going strong, Yisrael Kristal born in Żarnów, Poland and now living in Haifa, Israel celebrated his 112th birthday in September 2015. Following the passing of fellow supercentenarian Yasutaro Koide of Japan, born 6 months earlier; Guinness World Records is waiting to give the title of World’s Oldest Man to the Holocaust survivor – providing that he can vouch for the first 20 years of life. As it stands, the earliest official documentation he has is his wedding license when he was 25.

Kristal lived in the city of Lodz where he worked in the family’s sweet factory from 1920 at the age of 17, marrying in 1928 and having two children who tragically died in the ghetto. In 1944 he and his wife were deported to the death camp at Auschwitz. It is there like millions of others, that his wife perished; but he miraculously survived. He found love again and remarried. In 1950, he and his new bride and their infant son moved to Haifa, Israel. A daughter soon followed and Yisrael went back into the profession he knew best – candy making.

What is the secret to his longevity? According to his daughter, her father has been religiously observant his whole life. She says that the Holocaust didn’t affect his faith because he believes he was saved as that is what God wanted. “His attitude to life is everything in moderation. He eats and sleeps moderately, and says that a person should always be in control of their own life and not have their life control them, as far as this is possible.”

Kristal’s grandson, Oren, received an email this week from the Gerontology Research Group alerting him that his Polish-born Auschwitz survivor grandfather was up for the title of World’s Oldest Man.

When he heard the news, Yisrael Kristal said in Yiddish: “The joy of my old age.”

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