I’m often asked why I don’t write about something positive. Responding I explain I will if find it in today’s turbulent world threatened by US imperial viciousness.
Here’s some supercentenarian positive news: World’s oldest man, born in 1903, Auschwitz survivor, celebrated his bar mitzvah coming of age, missed during WW I, at age 113. A belated mazel tov!
Polish-born Jerusalem resident Israel Kristal survived Hitler, Stalin and two world wars. Last March, Guinness World Records’ Marco Frigatti awarded him its certificate as the world’s oldest living man. He was age 112 at the time.
In response, he said “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.”
“There have been smarter, stronger and better looking men then me who are no longer alive. All that is left for us to do is to keep on working as hard as we can and rebuild what is lost.”
Frigatti called his achievement “remarkable,” saying “he can teach us all an important lesson about the value of life and how to stretch the limits of human longevity.”
His wife, two children and entire family were holocaust victims. He barely survived the ordeal, near death weighing 81 pounds when rescued in May 1945.
Emigrating to Israel post-war, he ran a successful confectionary business until retiring.
Japanese national Yasutaro Koide was the oldest living man until his death last January at age 112.
US-born Susannah Mushatt Jones is the oldest living woman at age 115. French national Jeanne Calment lived an astonishing 122 years until her 1997 death.
She and other centenarians, living and past, bear testimony to the human spirit – hopefully to prevail one day over horrific dark forces threatening everyone’s survival.
A Final Comment
Kristal’s longevity isn’t the only positive topic I’ve written on. Years earlier, I remembered unparalleled maestro, music master Arturo Toscanini on the 50th anniversary of his 1957 death, weeks short of his 90th birthday.
I treasure his recorded musical performances, heard them live on radio as a boy in the 1940s and early 50s. His redoubtable anti-fascism inspired my article – refusing to perform in Mussolini’s Italy, his home country.
In 1933, he withdrew from Bayreuth after Hitler became German chancellor. In response to a telegram sent him, sale and performance of his recordings were banned.
After Hitler’s Austria Anschluss takeover, he refused to perform at the Salzburg Festival. From 1937 – 1954, he led the NBC Symphony orchestra created expressly for him – during America’s golden age of symphonic music.
Throughout most of the 1940s until his 1954 retirement, I listened regularly to his Sunday night broadcasts, its echoes remaining in the recesses of my mind.