Yisrael Kristal, a 112-year-old Israeli Holocaust survivor born in Poland to a religious Jewish family, may be up for recognition as the world’s oldest living man, says the Guinness Book of World Records.
Born in 1903, Kristal married after the first World War and had two children. He moved to the city of Lodz, Poland where he established a very successful chocolate and candy factory. After the Nazis invaded Poland, Kristal was forced into the Lodz ghetto with his family, although he was permitted to continue operating the factory. Sadly, both of his children died in the ghetto.
From Lodz, he and his wife were sent to Auschwitz in 1944. His wife died in the camp. Kristal survived working in forced labor in Auschwitz and other concentration camps.
After the war, Kristal moved back to Lodz, re-established his factory and remarried in 1947. Shortly thereafter, Kristal, his wife, and their newborn son, Haim, made aliyah to Haifa in 1950, where he has lived ever since as a religious, Orthodox Jew. The couple also have a daughter, Shula.
In order to officially receive the title of “World’s Oldest Man”, certain documentation must be presented which Kristal doesn’t immediately possess. Currently, the Jewish Records Index, an organization which assists in locating Polish Jewry documentation, is working to provide the necessary records to earn the title.
Guinness told Haaretz, “We are looking into information regarding several people, to see who is currently the oldest man alive. When we complete the investigation we’ll announce the name of the man holding the record in this category.”
Said Shula about her father to the Jerusalem Post: “He is someone who is always happy. He is optimistic, wise, and he values what he has.”