Auschwitz survivor and the world’s oldest man, Yisrael Kristal, has died at the age of 113 following a short illness.
The Polish-Israeli man died on Friday just a month before his 114th birthday.
Born in a small Polish village in 1903, Kristal lost both of his parents during the First World War. He later moved to the city of Lodz in central Poland and began working in the family confectionary business until the Nazi invasion changed his life forever.
Kristal, along with his wife and two children, were sent to the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp in 1940, where over 1 million people were murdered at the hands of Nazi SS troops during the war. He survived, but his family died in the death camp.
Following the war, Kristal moved to the Israeli city of Haifa to start a new life. He opened a candy store, remarried and had two more children. Both children brought him multiple grand and great-grandchildren.
He first claimed the longevity award on 11 March 2016 at the ripe old age of 112, and was awarded his certificate at his Haifa home by Guinness World Records. The company paid tribute to the record holder on social media.
Guinness World Records said that, upon receiving his award, Kristal could not offer any explanation for his remarkable longevity.
“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 then 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.”
The World Jewish Congress and the Auschwitz Memorial also both paid tribute to Kristal.
At 114, Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal was the oldest man in the world. Yisrael passed away today. May his memory be a blessing. pic.twitter.com/99gejwi5oa
— (((WJC))) (@WorldJewishCong) August 11, 2017
Sad to hear the news about passing away of Yisrael Kristal (b. 1903), an Auschwitz survivor from Żarów, the world’s oldest man. https://t.co/X0xePVQPtk
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 11, 2017
Guinness are now searching for potential successors for Kristal’s crown.