When Yisrael Kristal was liberated from the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1945, he could scarcely have imagined that he would one day live to be the world's oldest man. But today he has done the unthinkable.
More than 70 years ago Yisrael Kristal was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. Today he is the world's oldest man, at 112, Guinness World Records has announced.
Kristal was born on September 15, 1903 in what is now Poland, but was western Russia at the time. His birth preceded the Wright brothers' first flight by three months.
He lived through both world wars, surviving World War II in the Warsaw ghetto, until being sent to Auschwitz in 1944.
Marco Frigatti, Head of Records for Guinness, called Kristal's journey to longevity extraordinary.
"Mr. 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," Frigatti said.
Reacting to the news, Kristal released a statement.
"I don't know the secret for long life," he said. "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 then me who are no longer alive."
A sweet life
Kristal worked in the family's confectionary shop before the war and continued that work after the war.
His first wife and two children died in the Holocaust. Kristal weighed just 81 pounds when he was liberated from the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
He subsequently remarried, had two more children and moved to Israel. He reportedly has nine grandchildren and an undisclosed number of great-grandchildren.
The world's oldest woman, at 116 years old, is Susannah Mushatt Jones, of the United States, who was born on July 6, 1899.