World’s oldest man, an Israeli Holocaust survivor, dies at 113
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World’s oldest man, an Israeli Holocaust survivor, dies at 113

Yisrael Kristal, who last year marked his bar mitzvah 100 years late, passes away a month before his 114th birthday

Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal, confirmed in March 2016 as the oldest man in the world. (Courtesy of family)
Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal, confirmed in March 2016 as the oldest man in the world. (Courtesy of family)

The world’s oldest living man, Yisrael Kristal, died on Friday one month before his 114th birthday.

In 2016 Kristal, born September 15, 1903, had been recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest man.

Kristal, who lived in Haifa, had lived through both World Wars and survived the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Last year he finally celebrated his bar mitzvah — a hundred years later than usual. He had missed the original date because of World War I.

Kristal was born to an Orthodox Jewish family near the town of Zarnow in Poland. He was orphaned shortly after World War I and moved to Lodz to work in the family confectionary business in 1920. During the Nazi occupation of Poland he was confined to the ghetto there and later sent to Auschwitz and other concentration camps. His first wife and two children were killed in the Holocaust.

Kristal survived World War II weighing only 37 kilograms (about 81 pounds) — the only survivor of his large family. He married another Holocaust survivor and moved with her to Israel in 1950 where he built a new family and a successful confectionary business.

A devout Jew, he had wrapped phylacteries daily for the past century.

Kristal will likely now be succeeded as world’s oldest living man by Spaniard Francisco Núñez Olivera, 112, who had been second in line for the title.

Notably, Kristal was the oldest living man but not the oldest living person — that title currently belongs to Jamaican Violet Brown, 117.

AP contributed to this report.

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