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A Holocaust survivor has been named the world's oldest man

Israel Kristal survived two world wars and the Holocaust before moving to Israel and opening a sweet shop.

Guinness World Records announces new Oldest man - Israel Kristal Source: Dvir Rosen/Guinness World Records

ISRAEL KRISTAL SURVIVED two world wars and the Holocaust but doesn’t consider himself particularly remarkable, despite being named the world’s oldest living man today at age 112.

The Israeli was born in what is now Poland on September 15, 1903, three months before the Wright brothers’ first powered and controlled aeroplane flight.

He lived there after the First World War until the Nazi occupation in World War II, when he was eventually sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Kristal survived and moved to Israel, where he has lived for over six decades.

Guinness World Records confirmed today he was now considered the world’s oldest living man, but Kristal remained modest.

“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,” he said in a statement.

There have been smarter, stronger and better looking men than me who are no longer alive.

His daughter Shula Koperstoch was more excited.

“It’s a privilege (to have reached this age) and I’m very happy and he’s happy too. It’s really a privilege,” she told AFP.

Guinness World Records announces new Oldest man - Israel Kristal - Marco Frigatti Head of Records Kristal with Marco Frigatti - Head of Records with Guinness World Records Source: Dvir Rosen/Guinness World Records

Marco Frigatti, Head of Records for Guinness, said::

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.

The oldest living woman, at 116 years old, is Susannah Mushatt Jones, of the United States, who was born on July 6, 1899.

“The camps taught me”

Kristal was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in Zarnov in what is now Poland in the same year as the first transatlantic radio broadcast from the United States to England.

He started to read Hebrew at the age of three and has been performing Jewish ritual prayer every day possible since.

Guinness World Records announces new Oldest man - Israel Kristal - Marco Frigatti Head of Records - son Heim Kristal daughter Shula Kuperstoch & great grandkids Kristal with his family and a Guinness World Records official Source: Dvir Rosen/Guinness World Records

After the First World War, Kristal moved to Lodz where he worked in the family confectionary factory, married and had two children.

But his life was disrupted when Jewish quarter of the city became a ghetto under Nazi occupation during World War II and Kristal was sent to the infamous Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Some 1.1 million people, most of them European Jews, perished in the camp between 1940 and 1945 before it was liberated by Soviet forces.

His wife and two children died but Kristal survived, weighing just 37 kilos (81 pounds) at the end of the war, Kuperstoch told AFP.

“But he gained strength and then eventually travelled to Israel”, settling in the northern city of Haifa where he remarried and opened a sweet shop, she said.

She described Kristal as a “very positive man, very optimistic and with a good heart”.

Guinness World Records announces new Oldest man - Israel Kristal - Kristal surrounded by his family - Haifa 11th March 2016 Kristal surrounded by his family Source: Dvir Rosen/Guinness World Records

In an interview with Israeli media several years ago, Kristal was once asked what he ate to live so long.

“There wasn’t always food in the camps. I ate what I was given. I eat to live, and I don’t live to eat,” he said.

The previous oldest man, Yasutaro Koide of Japan, died in January at the age of 112.

Jeanne Louise Calment, who died in 1997, was the oldest verified person ever — passing away in France aged 122 years and 164 days.

© AFP, 2016

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