A frum Holocaust survivor in Haifa is believed to be the oldest man in the world. Yisrael Kristal, 112, achieved that status this week after Yasutaro Koide of Japan, also 112, died, JTA reports.
Kristal’s grandson, Oren, received an email this week from the Gerontology Research Group, an international organization that tracks the world’s over-110 set, alerting him that the Polish-born Auschwitz survivor was up for the honor.
Upon hearing the news, Kristal said in Yiddish: “The joy of my old age.”
To be officially certified as the oldest living man, Kristal must present documentation from the first 20 years of his life. However, Haaretz reported, the earliest official document Kristal possesses is from when he was 25.
JTA reports: “Born on September 15, 1903, in the town of Zarnow, Kristal moved to Lodz in 1920 to work in his family’s candy business. He continued operating the business after the Nazis forced the city’s Jews into a ghetto, where Kristal’s two children died. In 1944, he was deported to Auschwitz, where his wife, whom he had married at age 25, was killed. In 1950, he moved to Haifa with his second wife and their son, working again as a confectioner.
Kristal’s daughter Shula Kuperstoch told The Jerusalem Post that he has been religiously observant his whole life and continues to put on tefillin each morning. Read more.