Friday 30 September 2016

112-year-old Auschwitz survivor becomes world's oldest man

Sally Wardle

Published 11/03/2016 | 15:44

Guinness World Records handout photo of grandchildren Nevo (left)and Omer, Heim Kristal (son), Shula Kuperstoch (daughter) as Marco Frigatti, Head of Records for Guinness World Records, presents 112 year old Israel Kristal his certificate of achievement for being the world's oldest living man in Haifa, Israel Credit: Dvir Rosen/PA Wire
Guinness World Records handout photo of grandchildren Nevo (left)and Omer, Heim Kristal (son), Shula Kuperstoch (daughter) as Marco Frigatti, Head of Records for Guinness World Records, presents 112 year old Israel Kristal his certificate of achievement for being the world's oldest living man in Haifa, Israel Credit: Dvir Rosen/PA Wire

A 112-year-old who survived back-breaking slave labour at Auschwitz concentration camp is the world's oldest man, Guinness World Records has said.

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Polish-born Israel Kristal, who lost his wife and two children in the Holocaust, claimed the title on March 11 aged 112 years and 178 days.

Receiving his certificate at his home in Haifa, Israel, Mr Kristal said he did not know "the secret for long life".

"I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know the reasons why," he said.

Guinness World Records handout photo of 112 year old Israel Kristal surrounded by his family Credit: Dvir Rosen/PA Wire
Guinness World Records handout photo of 112 year old Israel Kristal surrounded by his family Credit: Dvir Rosen/PA Wire

"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."

Mr Kristal, who was born on September 15 1903 into a Jewish Orthodox family, survived the First World War despite being separated from his parents.

He moved to Lodz in Poland in 1920, where he began work in the family confectionery business.

But following the Nazi invasion of Poland and occupation of Lodz in 1939, he and his family were moved to a ghetto.

Mr Kristal survived slave labour in Auschwitz and other concentration camps during the Holocaust, but his wife and two children were killed. When he was rescued by Allied forces in May 1945 he weighed just 37 kilograms.

In 1950, as the lone survivor of his family, he emigrated with his second wife and their son to Israel where he ran his confectionery business until his retirement.

Mr Kristal takes the title of the world's oldest man from Yasutaro Koide of Japan, who died in January at the age of 112 years and 312 days.

The oldest living person in the world is American Susannah Mushatt Jones, who is 115 years and 249 days old.

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