Guinness World Records has confirmed that Israel Kristal, a Polish-Jewish Holocaust survivor who now lives in Haifa, is now the world’s oldest living man.
“I don’t know the secret for long life,” Kristal said upon receiving his new title. “I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know the reasons why. There have been smarter, stronger and better-looking men then me who are no longer alive. All that is left for us to do is to keep on working as hard as we can and rebuild what is lost.” Guinness awarded Kristal with the honor on March 11, 2016, when he was 112 years and 178 days old.
He was born near the town of Zarnow on September 15, 1903, to parents Moszek-Dawid and Brucha Krystztal. In 1920, he moved to Lodz to work in the family confectionery business. In 1939, Kristal and his family were moved into the Lodz ghetto. Four years later, he was sent to Auschwitz. Kristal’s wife, Chaja Feige Frucht, and their two children were murdered in the Holocaust. He was rescued by the Allies in May 1945 weighing only 82 pounds. In 1950, Kristal, his second wife and their baby moved to Haifa. He revived the family confectionery business in Israel until his retirement.
“This record category continues to be one of particular human interest and we have been able to verify that as the new oldest living man,” said Marco Frigatti, Head of Records for Guinness. “Mr. Kristal’s achievement is remarkable – he can teach us all an important lesson about the value of life and how to stretch the limits of human longevity.”
The oldest person ever to have lived is Jeanne Calment, a French woman who lived to 122 years and 164 days.
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