112-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Likely World’s Oldest Living Man, Group Says

Following the death of 112-year-old Yasutaro Koide of Japan, the Gerontology Research Group has labeled a 112-year-old Holocaust Survivor as the world’s oldest living man.

Yisrael Kristal, born in 1903 in Zarnov, Poland, is an Israeli Holocaust survivor, and once the Gerontology organization’s research is validated by Mr. Kristal’s documents, he will be the oldest living man on record.

According to the World Health Organization(WHO), the average life expectancy at birth of the global population is 71 years.

Mr. Kristal is part of a current estimate of 450,000 individuals worldwide that are at or over the age of 100. Those fortunate (or unfortunate enough, however you see it) to reach the age of 100 are regarded as centenarians while those, like Kristal, that make it past the age of 110, super-centenarians.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Kristal was born in 1903 in the town of Zarnov in Lodz province in what is now Poland.

His father was forced into the military during the first World War with the Russian army, ultimately surviving and returning back home to his family.

Mr. Kristal eventually married and fathered two children and made his way to the city of Lodz where he established a successful sweets and chocolate factory that seemed to be a big part of his life.

The Post reports that following the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto in August of 1944, Kristal’s two children were killed, while he and his wife were imprisoned at Auschwitz where his wife was eventually murdered.

The Auschwitz concentration camp was among the most notorious of the German extermination camps run by the Nazis during World War II. It served to enslave and kill millions of Jews, political opponents, prisoners of war, and homosexuals who were thought to be inferior and an alien threat to the so-called German community.

Kristal was one of the estimated 200,00 individuals who survived the horrors of Auschwitz, where he was forced to hard labor in that camp and others, and returned back to Lodz to re-establish his chocolate shop after the war.

KRAKOW, POLAND - JANUARY 26: (L-R) 81-year-old Paula Lebovics, 79-year-old Miriam Ziegler, 85-year-old Gabor Hirsch and 80-year-old Eva Kor pose with the original image of them as children taken at Auschwitz at the time of its liberation on January 26, 2015 in Krakow, Poland. This week marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and to mark the event USC Shoah Foundation have brought together, for the first time, four of the survivors from the iconic image by Alexander Vorontsov of Auschwitz children. Auschwitz was among the most notorious of the extermination camps run by the Nazis to enslave and kill millions of Jews, political opponents, prisoners of war, homosexuals and Roma. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
A group of Auschwitz survivors hold the original image of them as children taken at Auschwitz at the time of its liberation. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Once back in Lodz, Kristal was able to remarry in 1947. In 1950 he, his wife, and newly born son made aliya to Israel and ultimately settled in Haifa where he has remained ever since.

According to his daughter, Shula Kuperstoch, the Holocaust failed to affect Kristal’s beliefs.

“He believes he was saved because that’s what God wanted. He is not an angry person, he is not someone who seeks to an accounting, he believes everything has a reason in the world,” she said.

“My father is someone who is always happy. He is optimistic, wise, and he values what he has,” Ms. Kuperstoch continued.

“His attitude to life is everything in moderation,” she says. “He eats and sleeps moderately, and says that a person should always be in control of their own life and not have their life control them, as far as this is possible.”

The 112-year-old’s daughter has also stated that her father attribute’s his extreme longevity to God, and is convinced that his age is simply a divine from of grace that has been bestowed upon him.

“He says that if he had created some medicine to extend life then it would be something notable,” said Kuperstoch. “But his attitude is that he has just lived his life, and reached thus age, it’s just his reality, it wasn’t in his hands. That’s what he believes.”

[Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images]