It is with great sadness that Guinness World Records has learned of the death of record holder Yisrael Kristal, the world’s Oldest living man, who passed at the age of 113.
Kristal, who is survived by his two children, multiple grandchildren and great grandchildren, has died just a month before his 114th birthday in his home town of Haifa, Israel.
He first claimed his title as the world’s Oldest living man at the age of 112 years and 178 days on 11 March 2016, and was awarded his certificate at his home in Haifa, by Guinness World Records’ Head of Records Marco Frigatti.
Yisrael was born in Poland, near the town of Zarnow on 15 September, 1903 to parents Moszek-Dawid and Brucha Krystztal.
Born a Jewish Orthodox, his early years saw him learn Hebrew at a local Heder school at the age of three.
He continued his studies learning the Bible at age four, and the Mishna at six.
Yisrael showed tremendous bravery throughout his long life, including surviving the First World War at age 11 despite being separated from his parents.
In 1920 he moved to Łódź in Poland to work in the family confectionary business.
However, 20 years later Kristal would face one of the largest adversities in his life: the Nazi invasion of Poland, where Kristal was moved into the Łódź ghetto with his family in 1939.
In 1943 he was sent to Auschwitz, where Kristal lost his wife, Chaja Feige Frucht along with their two children during the Holocaust.
Kristal himself survived, performing backbreaking slave labor in Auschwitz and other concentration camps.
He was rescued from the brink of death by the Allies in May 1945 weighing only 37 kilos.
A sole survivor of a large family, he then immigrated in 1950 to the city of Haifa in Israel with his second wife and their son.
Since that time, Kristal continued to grow both his family and his successful confectionary business in Haifa surrounded by his loved ones until his death.
He also made headlines in 2016 when he finally celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, 100 years later, as he was prevented from doing so due to WWI.
When Yisrael received his Guinness World Records certificate, he said: “I don’t know the secret for long life. 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 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.”
Guinness World Records was assisted in the research and verification of Israel's world record by the Gerontology Research Group and Jewish Records Indexing - Poland.
Speaking at the time of his Kristal's certificate presentation, Marco Frigatti, Head of Records for GWR said: “Mr Kristal’s achievement is remarkable - he can teach us all an important lesson about the value of life and how to stretch the limits of human longevity.”
Guinness World Records is now consulting with our expert Gerontologists to verify potential successors for the Oldest living man record and will announce the new title holder once the process is complete.