World's Oldest Holocaust Survivor Inspires Soccer Players

Israel Krysztal, 111, celebrated his birthday with Maccabi Tel Aviv strikers Barak Itzhaki and Eden Ben Basat.

Screenshot

He was born the year before Herzl died. He was orphaned at 11, just before World War I broke out. In World War II he lost his first wife in the Holocaust and survived Auschwitz. Through it all, this candy maker's son made his way to Israel in 1950.

Today, Israel Krysztal, a resident of Haifa, celebrates his 111th birthday as the world's oldest Holocaust survivor. And two members of the Israeli soccer club Maccabi Tel Aviv, strikers Barak Itzhaki and Eden Ben Basat, arranged a birthday party for him, the team said.

"We cannot comprehend the challenges that you have endured, but we can and are incredibly inspired by your courage and spirit," said Mitch Goldhar, owner of the team, who spoke with Krysztal and his daughter, Shula, by phone from Canada.

The players gave Krysztal a Maccabi Tel Aviv jersey with the number 111 and briefed him on the team's history.

Krysztal is now the great-grandfather of 24, Itzhaki noted. 

And Ben Basat added that "Israel is inspiring at all levels, a role model who showed us the meaning of being optimistic in life.