Yisrael Kristal survived two world wars and the Holocaust but doesn’t consider himself particularly remarkable, despite being named the world’s oldest living man today at age 112.
The Israeli was born in what is now Poland on September 15, 1903, three months before the Wright brothers’ first powered and controlled aeroplane flight.
He lived there after the First World War until the Nazi occupation in World War II, when he was eventually sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Kristal survived and moved to Israel, where he has lived for over six decades.
Guinness World Records confirmed today he was now considered the world’s oldest living man, but Kristal remained modest.
“I don’t know the secret for long life. I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know the reasons why,” he said in a statement today.
“There have been smarter, stronger and better looking men than me who are no longer alive.” His daughter Shula Koperstoch was more excited. “It’s a privilege (to have reached this age) and I’m very happy and he’s happy too. It’s really a privilege,” she told AFP.
Marco Frigatti, Head of Records for Guinness, said, “Kristal’s achievement is remarkable—he can teach us all an important lesson about the value of life and how to stretch the limits of human longevity.”
The oldest living woman, at 116 years old, is Susannah Mushatt Jones, of the United States, who was born on July 6, 1899.