World’s Oldest Man and Auschwitz Survivor Passes Away


Yisrael Kristal

Rhea Rohr, Contributor

It’s the end of a legacy. Yisrael Kristal, an Auschwitz survivor, passed away at age 113 on August 11, 2017 after falling ill the day before. Kristal was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest man, and the ninth oldest man in recorded history. After being given the title, he stated, “There have been smarter, stronger and better looking men than me who are no longer alive.”

Due to his thirteenth birthday occurring during World War I, Yisrael was not able to celebrate his bar mitzvah. In 2016, he chose to celebrate an entire century later with his two children, nine grandchildren, and 30 great-grandchildren.

Yisrael Kristal was born into a Jewish family in 1903. His father was very adamant about him having a religious upbringing, and put him into Jewish instructions, teaching him the Hebrew Bible and the Mishnah. When Kristal was seven, his mother passed away. Four years later, his father was enlisted into the Imperial Russian Army, dying not long after. He then proceeded to move in with his uncles. Kristal made candy for a living, and secretly continued his job after the invasion of Poland. In 1939, Kristal, his wife, and two children were moved to the Lodz ghetto. Unfortunately, his children did not survive the next five years. In 1944, he and his wife were moved to Auschwitz. He survived the concentration camp, but his wife was murdered. When he was rescued in 1945, he weighed only 81 pounds. Afterwards, he moved to Israel, married another Holocaust survivor, and had two more kids. He proceeded to live a long and happy life in Haifa with his family.

Sources: BBCnews; Huffington Post;