110-Year-Old Candymaker Now Stakes Claims as Oldest Holocaust Survivor

Yisrael Kristal Survived Camps — Frets About Today's World

haaretz

By Ofer Aderet

Published February 26, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

When he recovered, he returned to Lodz, where he met his second wife, Batsheva. He rebuilt the factory, which had been destroyed, and returned to producing candies. In 1950, Kristal, Batsheva and their young son, Chaim, immigrated to Israel on the vessel Komemiyut, and settled in Haifa. At first, Kristal worked in the Palata candy factory in the Haifa Bay area. The owners, who spoke Polish, were glad to employ an expert from their home country. Kristal taught them how to make an entire production line of sweets.

Later on, Kristal became self-employed and produced boutique sweets at home, including tiny chocolate bottles of liqueur wrapped in colored foil, jam made from carob and chocolate-covered orange peels, which he sold at a kiosk in Haifa. Between 1952 and 1970, he produced his candies at the Sar and Kristal factory on Shivat Zion Street. After the factory closed, he went back to producing candies at home.

“It’s not such a good bargain,” he said in Yiddish when he was asked how he has been able to reach his ripe old age. “Everybody has their own fortune. It’s up to God. I didn’t know before, either. There are no secrets.” When asked what he ate to stay healthy, he said, “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. You don’t need too much. Anything that’s too much isn’t good. It isn’t good to be too beautiful or too smart. It isn’t good to eat too much, either. A little less is better than a little more. It’s not good to have a full stomach.”

Unlike Alice Herz-Sommer, who expressed an optimistic world view to her last breath, Kristal is more realistic. “The world is worse than in the past,” he said. “I don’t like the permissiveness here. Everything’s allowed. At one time, young people weren’t as cheeky as they are now. They had to think about a profession and about making a living. They were carpenters, tailors. That doesn’t exist today. Now it’s all high-tech. Things come easily, without effort, without the manual labor of the past. When were children, our parents told us, “You’ll marry this one, not that one. Today, children decide everything. Once upon a time, parents had the last word.”

He says, “Once, a shoemaker worked on several pairs of shoes. He knew how much he would earn each day. Today, the machine makes a hundred pairs of shoes. So there are a hundred pairs of shoes - and what do people do? There aren’t jobs for everyone. So all the shops are full, but everybody walks around barefoot and naked.”

For more stories, go to Haaretz.com or to subscribe to Haaretz, click here and use the following promotional code for Forward readers: FWD13.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.