It’s official! The Guinness World Records has confirmed that Israel Kristal of Haifa is now the world’s oldest living man.

Kristal has lived through both World Wars, survived the Holocaust, and has lived through Israel’s many wars since relocating here from his hometown in Poland.

“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,” Kristal said upon receiving his new title.

The Guiness World Records awarded Kristal with the honor on March 11, 2016, when he was 112 years and 178 days old.

Israel Kristal poses with Guinness World Records’ Head of Records Marco Frigatti, Kristal's son Haim Kristal, daughter Shula Kuperstoch and great grandchildren. Photo by Guinness World Records
Israel Kristal poses with Guinness World Records’ Head of Records Marco Frigatti, Kristal’s son Haim Kristal, daughter Shula Kuperstoch and great-grandchildren. Photo by Guinness World Records

Guinness World Records’ Head of Records Marco Frigatti came to Haifa to give Kristal the official certificate.

Kristal’s family had originally turned to the Guinness World Records to nominate him for the title. The Gerontology Research Group and Jewish Records Indexing – Poland helped verify Kristal’s age.

He was born near the town of Zarnow on September 15, 1903, to parents Moszek-Dawid and Brucha Krystztal. In 1920, he moved to Lodz to work in the family confectionery business.

In 1939, Kristal and his family were moved into the Lodz ghetto. Four years later he was sent to Auschwitz.

Kristal’s wife, Chaja Feige Frucht, and their two children were murdered in the Holocaust. He was rescued by the Allies in May 1945 weighing only 37 kilograms.

Israel Kristal with his extended family. Photo by Guinness World Records
Israel Kristal with his extended family. Photo by Guinness World Records

In 1950, Kristal, his second wife and their baby, moved to the city of Haifa.

He revived the family confectionery business in Israel until his retirement.

“This record category continues to be one of particular human interest and we have been able to verify that as the new oldest living man,” said Marco Frigatti, Head of Records for GWR. “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.”

According to GWR, the oldest person ever to have lived is Jeanne Calment (France) who lived to 122 years and 164 days.