The world’s oldest man, who survived both the Holocaust and World War I and eventually moved to Israel, died this week in Haifa, one month before his 114th birthday.
Yisrael Kristal, who died Friday, was born in Zarnow, Poland in 1903. By the time he reached middle age, both world wars had torn apart his family.
During World War I, Kristal was separated from his parents, according to a post from the Guinness Book of World Records. Once Nazi Germany took control of Poland during the outset of World War II, Kristal was sent to a ghetto with his wife and two children.
They were lost in the Holocaust. Kristal was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he was near-death and weighed about 82 pounds by the camp’s liberation in 1945.
After the war, he moved to Israel with his second wife. Despite the struggles he faced during his time in Poland, Kristal told Haaretz he didn’t like society as much in his old age.
“The world is worse than in the past,” he said. “I don’t like the permissiveness here. Everything’s allowed. At one time, young people weren’t as cheeky as they are now. They had to think about a profession and about making a living.”
He told Guinness there’s no secret to living a long life.
“I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know the reasons why,” Kristal said. “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.”
Kristal, who worked as a candy manufacturer, is survived by two children and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
By Sam Howard