Sad news out of Israel, as the world’s oldest man, #Yisrael Kristal died on Friday in Haifa after a short illness at the age of 113. He was also the only member of his original family to survive the Holocaust and would have celebrated his 114th birthday next month.

A history of the world’s oldest man

As reported by the BBC, Kristal was born in Zarnow, Poland on September 15, 1903, and moved to Lodz after the end of World War I, working in the family’s candy factory. He was happily married with two children.

However, that happy life was brought to an end when the Nazis occupied the Jewish quarter of the city during World War II.

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Along with many other Jews, Kristal was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration camp where approximately 1.1 million people, mostly Europeans of the Jewish faith, were killed from 1940-1945. While Kristal survived the traumatic experience, his wife, Chaja Feige Frucht and two children were killed.

At the end of the war, when Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoners were liberated, Kristal weighed only 81 pounds. After he was liberated from the concentration camp, Kristal reportedly thanked the Soviet soldiers by making them candy.

New life after surviving the Holocaust

After surviving his imprisonment in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Kristal went on to start a new life in Israel, where he set up a candy store and married for a second time, going on to have two more children with his new wife.

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One of those children, Shula Kuperstoch, told The Jerusalem Post back in 2016 that she had a “great father” and that he was always happy and valued everything he had. She said he was optimistic and wise and saw the good in everything. After his passing, he leaves his two children, along with nine grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren.

Certified the world’s oldest man

In 2016, Kristal was certified as the world’s oldest man by the Guinness Book of Records. He also made headlines that year by celebrating his Bar Mitzvah 100 years late. While the Bar Mitzvah is normally celebrated at the age of 13 by boys, when Kristal was that age, his mother had recently passed away and his father was fighting in World War I with the Russian army. His daughter Shula said her father was a religious man, and had prayed each morning for 100 years, but had not yet had his Bar Mitzvah, so he went on to put things right.

According to Kristal’s record on the Guinness World Record website, when he received his certificate as the world’s oldest man in March 2016 he could not offer an explanation as to his longevity, other than his belief in God.

#Holocaust survivor #worlds oldest man