Middle East

Auschwitz survivor is world's oldest man - Guinness World Records

This file photo taken on January 22, 2016 shows Yisrael Kristal sitting in his home in the Israeli city of Haifa Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Yisrael Kristal has lived through two world wars

A survivor of the Auschwitz death camp is now the world's oldest man, the Guinness World Records organisation says.

Yisrael Kristal was born near Zarnow in Poland in 1903 and lived through two world wars before moving to the Israeli city of Haifa.

He was 112 years and 178 days old on 11 March, Guinness World Records says.

The previous oldest-recorded man, Yasutaro Koide of Japan, died in January aged 112 years and 312 days.

As he received his Guinness World Records certificate, Mr Kristal said he did not know the "secret for long life" and that he believed everything was "determined from above".

"There have been smarter, stronger and better looking men then me who are no longer alive," he added.

"All that is left for us to do is to keep on working as hard as we can and rebuild what is lost."

The son of a religious scholar, Mr Kristal was separated from his parents during World War One. He later moved to Lodz to work in the family confectionery business.

After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939, Mr Kristal and his family were moved into the Lodz ghetto.

His two children died there and Mr Kristal and his wife Chaja Feige Frucht were sent to Auschwitz in 1944 after the ghetto was liquidated, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Mr Kristal's wife was murdered in Auschwitz but he survived, performing slave labour in that and other camps. When he was found by the Allies in May 1945 he weighed just 37 kg (5 stones 11 lbs).

The sole survivor from his family, Mr Kristal emigrated to Israel in 1950 with his second wife and their son, where he continued to run his confectionery business until his retirement.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The previous oldest man Yasutaro Koide died in January

His daughter, Shula Kuperstoch, said the Holocaust had not affected her father's beliefs.

"He is optimistic, wise, and he values what he has," she told the Jerusalem Post.

The oldest person alive today is believed to be an American woman, Susannah Mushatt Jones, who is 115 years and 249 days.

The oldest person ever to have lived is thought to be Jeanne Calment from France, who died aged 122 years and 164 days.

Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp

Image caption Time is running out to prosecute the few Auschwitz guards still alive
  • Construction began in 1940 on site that grew to 40 sq km (15 sq miles)
  • About one million Jews were killed at the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland
  • Other victims included Roma (Gypsies), disabled people, homosexuals, dissidents, non-Jewish Poles and Soviet prisoners

How the Holocaust unfolded, year by year

Why did ordinary people commit atrocities in the Holocaust?

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