Yisrael Kristal .
(photo credit: COURTESY OF FAMILY)
Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal, who last year was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living man, died in Israel on Friday, aged 113.
Kristal was born on September 15, 1903, in Zarnov in the Lodz province of what is now Poland to a religious family. He married and had two children, eventually moving to Lodz where he established a successful candy factory.
After the Nazi invasion of Poland, Kristal and his family were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. His two children died in the ghetto, while Kristal and his wife were sent to Auschwitz following the liquidation of the ghetto in August 1944. Kristal survived, but his wife was murdered in the camp.
After the war, he returned to Lodz where he remarried in 1947 and reestablished his candy factory.
In 1950, he made aliya with his wife and their infant boy, Haim, settling in Haifa where he remained for the rest of his life. The couple had a daughter, Shula, and Kristal, doing what he knew, established a factory in the city called Kristal’s Sweets.
Kristal was awarded a Guinness certificate as the world’s oldest man on March 11, 2016, when he was 112 years and 178 days old. He died on Friday in Haifa aged 113 years and 330 days.
“My father is someone who is always happy. He is optimistic, wise, and he values what he has,” Kristal’s daughter Shula Kuperstoch told The Jerusalem Post in 2016.
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Kuperstoch said that her father did not attribute his extreme longevity to anything other than God, and believed that his old age was simply a divine form of divine grace that had been bestowed upon him.
“He says that if he had created some medicine to extend life then it would be something notable,” said Kuperstoch in 2016. “But his attitude is that he has just lived his life, and reached thus age, it’s just his reality, it wasn’t in his hands. That’s what he believes.”
Jeanne Calment, a French woman, had the longest confirmed human lifespan, according to Guinness. She died in 1997 at the age of 122.
The oldest ever verified man, Jiroemon Kimura of Japan, died in 2013, aged 116 years and 54 days.
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