Never Give Up: The Oldest Man In The World Is A Holocaust Survivor
It's a true testament to the fortitude of the human spirit the oldest man in the world is now a 112-year-old Holocaust survivor in Israel.
His name is Israel Kristal, The Guardian reports.
On March 11, Guinness World Records presented Kristal with a certificate confirming him as the world's oldest man. Officially, he's 112 years and 178 days old.
Kristal's predecessor, a Japanese man named Yasutaro Koide, passed away at the age of 112 in January.
It's amazing for anyone to live past the age of 100, but to make it to 112 as someone who also survived the horrors of the Holocaust is absolutely incredible and very inspiring.
Kristal was born in Zarnow, Poland on September 15, 1903. During World War II, he was sent to Auschwitz, one of the most infamous concentration camps established by the Nazis. In the camp, Kristal was a slave laborer, which nearly claimed his life.
Auschwitz played an integral role in what was known as the "Final Solution," or the Nazi plan to wipe Jews from the face of the earth.
According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, it's estimated around six million Jews died during the Holocaust, in addition to millions of other people from groups the Nazis targeted: homosexuals, political opponents, Soviet civilians and POWs, Roma (Gypsies) and many others.
While there were many events that led up to the Holocaust, it largely took place over the course of WWII (1939-1945). Tragically, Kristal's wife and children died during this horrendous period.
But he lived on and was eventually rescued from Auschwitz by the Allies in 1945. At the time, he weighed just 37 kg (approximately 81 pounds).
In 1950, he moved to Haifa, Israel with his second wife and son.
Even after horrific events like the Holocaust, humans have the capacity to live on and thrive. Kristal's story is emblematic of the exceptional willpower of human beings.
When asked what the secret to a long life is, Kristal said,
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. There have been smarter, stronger and better looking men than 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.
His mentality and perseverance stand as examples for us all.