Auschwitz death camp survivor Yisrael Kristal has become the world’s oldest man, the Guinness World Records organization says.
Yisrael Kristal was born near Zarnow in Poland in 1903 and lived through two world wars before moving to Haifa, Israel.
He was 112 years and 178 days old on 11 March, Guinness World Records says.
The previous oldest-recorded man, Yasutaro Koide of Japan, died in January aged 112 years and 312 days.
As he received his Guinness World Records certificate, Yisrael Kristal said he did not know the “secret for long life” and that he believed everything was “determined from above”.
“All that is left for us to do is to keep on working as hard as we can and rebuild what is lost.”
The son of a religious scholar, Yisrael Kristal was separated from his parents during World War One. He later moved to Lodz to work in the family confectionery business.
After the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1939, Yisrael Kristal and his family were moved into the Lodz ghetto.
His two children died there and Yisrael Kristal and his wife Chaja Feige Frucht were sent to Auschwitz in 1944 after the ghetto was liquidated, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Yisrael Kristal’s wife was murdered in Auschwitz but he survived, performing slave labor in that and other camps. When he was found by the Allies in May 1945 he weighed just 81.5 lbs.
The sole survivor from his family, Yisrael Kristal emigrated to Israel in 1950 with his second wife and their son, where he continued to run his confectionery business until his retirement.
Yisrael Kristal’s daughter, Shula Kuperstoch, said the Holocaust had not affected her father’s beliefs.
“He is optimistic, wise, and he values what he has,” she told the Jerusalem Post.
The oldest person alive today is believed to be an American woman, Susannah Mushatt Jones, who is 115 years and 249 days.
The oldest person ever to have lived is thought to be Jeanne Calment from France, who died aged 122 years and 164 days.