World’s Oldest Man, Auschwitz Survivor, Dies in Haifa at Age 113

August 12, 2017

< 1 min read

Yisrael Kristal, a survivor of Auschwitz recognized as the world’s oldest man, died one month before his 114th birthday in Haifa, Israel.

Kristal was born in Poland on September 15, 1903. His father was a Torah scholar and Kristal remained religious his entire life. His father was drafted into the Russian army in World War I when Kristal was seven-years old and was killed not long after. At the age of 17 he became a confectioner, a profession he was successful at and stayed with his entire working life.

When World War II broke out and the Nazis invaded Poland, Kristal was deported to Auschwitz. His wife and two children did not survive the Holocaust. In 1947, he remarried and had two children. In 1950, the family moved to Haifa where he worked as a confectioner.

In March 2016, Kristal was officially recognized as the world’s oldest living man by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Kristal was prevented from celebrating his Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13 due to the outbreak of World War I, so in September 2016, he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at the age of 113. As a religious Jew, Kristal wrapped tefillin every weekday for the last century.

Kristal is survived by his son and his daughter, nine grandchildren, and nearly 30 great-grandchildren.

His daughter, Shulamith Kuperstoch, told Times of Israel that he had no explanation for his longevity.

“It’s a gift from above,” she said. “He doesn’t feel like he had any part in it.”

“I merited having a wonderful father, who gave me a lot of confidence and strength,” she said to Ynet. “Despite everything that happened, that he lost his entire family in the Holocaust, he had a lot of optimism. In everything, he saw just the light and the good.”

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