Yisrael Kristal

Yisrael Kristal
Yisrael Kristal (cropped).jpg
Kristal in September 2016
BornIzrael Icek Krysztal
(1903-09-15)September 15, 1903
Maleniec, Końskie County, Congress Poland, Russian Empire
Died(2017-08-11)August 11, 2017
(aged 113 years, 330 days)
Haifa, Israel
Known forOldest living man
(January 18, 2016 – August 11, 2017)
Oldest survivor of the Holocaust
  • Chaje Feige Frucht (married 1928, 2 children; she and the children died in the Holocaust)
  • Batsheva Kristal (married 1947, 2 children)
Kristal's name and date of birth on a 1918 record

Yisrael Kristal (born Izrael Icek Kryształ; Hebrew: ישראל קרישטל‎; September 15, 1903 – August 11, 2017) was a Polish-Israeli supercentenarian, recognized as the oldest living Holocaust survivor, and after the death of Yasutaro Koide on January 19, 2016, was the oldest living man in the world as well as one of the ten oldest men ever.

Born to religious parents in Poland, then part of the Russian Empire, Kristal remained religiously observant all his life.[1][2]

A confectioner by profession, he experienced World War I as an early teen, and World War II as an adult. After surviving the Holocaust, he emigrated to Israel.

Kristal became the world's oldest recognized Holocaust survivor in 2014 and the world's oldest man in 2016.

Early life

Yisrael Kristal in Poland, 1931, aged 28

Kristal was born to a religious Jewish family in Maleniec, Końskie County near Żarnów, then part of Congress Poland of the Russian Empire, on September 15, 1903. His father was a Torah scholar who ensured his son had a religious education, and Kristal would remain religiously observant all his life. He attended a cheder at age three, where he studied Judaism and Hebrew. He learned the Hebrew Bible at four and the Mishnah at six. In a 2012 interview, he recalled his father waking him at five in the morning to begin his religious instruction.[3]

His mother died in 1910 when he was 7 years old. After World War I broke out in 1914, he saw Kaiser Franz Joseph in person when the monarch rode through his town in a car, and recalled them throwing sweets as he passed. His father was drafted into the Imperial Russian Army and died soon after.[4][5] Meanwhile, Kristal moved in with his uncles.

In 1920, at age 17, he moved to Łódź. After briefly laboring as a metalworker, he opened a candy store with an uncle. While initially working as a physical laborer, he later became a renowned expert candy-maker. He married Chaja Feige Frucht[6] in 1928, and had two children.[4][7][5]