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Auschwitz survivor who was world’s oldest man dies aged 113

Yisrael Kristal, born in 1903 in Poland, settled in Israel after the war

    Mr Kristal at his barmitzvah last year, held 100 years late (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/family of Yisrael Kristal)

    An Auschwitz survivor who became the world’s oldest man has died in Haifa at the age of 113.

    Yisrael Kristal was born in 1903 in Malienec, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire). Moving to Lodz in his late teens, he worked in the family confectionary business, marrying and having two children.

    When the Nazis invaded Poland, Mr Kristal and his family were forced into the Lodz ghetto, where his two children died. When the ghetto was liquidated in 1944, he and his wife were deported to Auschwitz. He managed to survive the Nazi death camp, although being subjected to slave labour, but she did not.

    After the war Mr Kristal initially returned to Lodz, where he remarried, before moving to Israel in 1950, where he was to spend the rest of his life. He continued to work in the confectionary business until his retirement. In March of last year the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed him as the world’s oldest man.

    A number of Twitter users paid tribute to the Mr Kristal on Friday afternoon.

     

    Mr Kristal was brought up religious, and continued to practise after the Holocaust. Last September, when reached the age of 113, he celebrated his barmitzvah a century late; the First World War had prevented him from having his coming-of-age ceremony at the time.

    He and his second wife had two children. At the end of his life, Mr Kristal had nine grandchildren and numerous grandchildren. 

    When asked about his longevity, he answered by saying: “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 than 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.”.

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