Yisrael Kristal

Mr. Yisrael Kristal, who is best known as a survivor of the historic Holocaust has reportedly passed away in Isreal at the age of 113 years and 330 days. The world figure, who was some time ago recognized as the world’s oldest living man by Guinness World Records died one month away from his 114th birthday, at the northern port city of Haifa.

As contained in the Guinness book of world record, Kristal was born in Poland on September 17, 1903. He is said to have survived the Auschwitz death camp but unfortunately lost his first wife, two children, and other family members to the Nazis during the genocidal mission of the notorious Adolf Hitler. Following the tragedy at Auschwitz death camp, Kristal went on to tie the knot the second time and later relocated to Israel in 1950.

Learn the Facts about Yisrael Kristal

1. Biography

Yisrael Kristal was born Izrael Icek Krysztal, on September 15, 1903, in Maleniec, Końskie County, Congress Poland, Russian Empire. He was raised up by a father who was a Torah scholar following the death of his mother in 1910 when he was 7. Born to a religious Jewish family, Izrael was exposed to several religious teachings. At the age of three, he was enrolled at a cheder, where he received teachings on Hebrew and Judaism. At age 4 and 6, he had already learned the Hebrew Bible and the Mishnah respectively.

Icek lost his father shortly after he was drafted into the Imperial Russian Army, leading him to move in with his uncles. At age 17, precisely in 1970, he relocated to Łódź. He would later run a candy store with his uncle, after which he began making candy. Before venturing into candy business, Yisrael worked as a metal worker but couldn’t work for a long time due to the nature of the job.

Having started a candy shop, he was able to raise some money to cater for himself. He eventually got married in 1928 to Chaja Feige Frucht, with whom he had two children. He received a Guinness certificate as the world’s oldest man on March 11, 2016. Yisrael was 112 years and 178 days old at the time. In 2014, the renowned confectioner became the world’s oldest recognized Holocaust survivor following the passing of Alice Herz-Sommer (a Prague-born Jewish pianist, music teacher, and supercentenarian who survived Theresienstadt concentration camp) in London on February 23, 2014.

2. Holocaust Survival

Mr. Kristal was born in Zarnow in modern-day Poland on September 15, 1903 – three months before the Wright brothers’ first successful powered airplane flight.

After World War I ended, he moved to Lodz where he worked in the family sweet factory, married and had two children.

However, being a Jewish man in Germany was not favorable during Adolf Hitler genocidal mission. He was sent to the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, where around 1.1 million people, mostly European Jews, were killed between 1940 and 1945.

Kristal lost his two children in the ghetto while he and wife Chaja Feige Frucht were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp during the liquidation of the ghetto in August 1944. It was in the same camp that his wife died and he was forced into a laborer and survived. The camp was liberated by the Red Army and Kristal was barely alive weighing only 82 pounds at the end of the war.

According to  Guinness World Records’ website on receiving his certificate at his home in the northern Israeli city of Haifa last year, Mr. Yisrael Kristal credited his longevity to his belief in God.

3. Life in Israel

After the war, Yisrael Kristal recovered at a hospital and later thanked the Soviet soldiers for liberating the camp. he also made some sweets for the soldiers. Thereafter, he returned to Łódź (a city in Poland), where he rebuilt his destroyed candy shop. It was there that he met and married his second wife, Batsheva, in 1947. They had two children named Chaim (son) and Shula (daughter). While Chaim was born in Poland, Shula was born in Israel, where Kristal and family had moved to after Chaim’s birth. It was in Israel that he began working in a sweet factory and later opened his own sweet shop.

Read Also: 8 Remarkable Moments During the African Slave Trade

Remarkably, Yisrael’s birth year (1903) was the same year the English iconic author George Orwell was born. Orwell is best known as the writer of the iconic allegorical novella Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.