Israel Kristal lived through the tumult of two world wars, lost his family in the Holocaust and escaped death in the Auschwitz concentration camp. He then built a new life in Israel. On Friday, at the age of 112 years and 178 days, he was declared the oldest man in the world.
“I don’t know the secret for long life,” Kristal said upon finding out he’s the oldest man in the world Friday. “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.”
Guinness Word Records reported Kristal, who now resides in Israel, was born in Poland on Sept. 15, 1903 and was separated from his parents around the time of the first World War. Seventeen years later he moved to Lodz, Poland, to work for his family’s business when he and his family were moved into the ghetto upon the Nazi’s occupation of the city.
He was sent to Auschwitz four years later where his wife and two children died. When he was rescued, in 1945, he weighed only 81 pounds, according to the organization.
He remarried, had children with his second wife and emigrated to Haifa, Israel, where he’s “surrounded by his loving family.”