World's oldest man, Polish Jew who fled the Nazis, dies at 111
Alexander Imich, who was born in southern Poland to a wealthy secular Jewish family, died in New York.
Alexander Herbert Imich (February 4, 1903 – June 8, 2014) was a Polish-born American chemist, parapsychologist, and supercentenarian, who was the president of the Anomalous Phenomena Research Center in New York City. He was born in 1903 in Cz?stochowa, Poland (then a part of Russian Empire) to a Jewish family. Since Imich's death, the world's oldest known man is Sakari Momoi of Japan (born February 5, 1903, one day after Imich).
Until his death at the age of 111 years 124 days, Imich was certified by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest living man since the death of Arturo Licata of Italy on April 24, 2014.
• 1 Early war service
• 2 Academic career
• 3 World War II
• 4 Life in the United States
• 5 Notes
Early war service
Imich stated that, at age 18?, (age 15 based on year of birth) he and the rest of his class joined the Polish forces to fight the Bolsheviks in 1918. His older brother served as instructor in the automobile division, so Imich learned to drive trucks for the army until the Bolshevik forces were pushed back and Imich returned to school.
He earned a Ph.D in zoology at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków in 1929, but as he could not find an academic position in zoology, he switched to chemistry. During the 1920s and 1930s he did some research on a medium, Matylda, for the Polish Society for Psychical Research. He published a report in 1932 in a German journal, Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie, but all of the unpublished notes and photos from the research were lost during World War II.
World War II
During World War II, Imich and his wife Wela (pronounced Vela) fled to Soviet-occupied Bia?ystok, where he was employed as a chemist. The couple were later interned in a labor camp for the duration of the war due to their refusal to accept Soviet citizenship. They were eventually freed and chose to emigrate to the U.S. in 1951, as almost all of their Polish relatives and friends had died in the war.
Life in the United States
In 1952, Imich and his wife Wela (died 1986) emigrated to the United States, first to Pennsylvania and then to New York, dividing their time between both places. To make a living, Imich initially took up chemistry, but once Wela made a career for herself as a psychologist in 1965, he turned to parapsychology. After becoming a widower in 1986, he continued his lifelong interest in parapsychology, giving out the Imich prize for parapsychology research for several years until he began experiencing financial problems.
Imich wrote numerous papers for journals in the field and edited a book, "Incredible Tales of the Paranormal" which was published by Bramble Books in 1995. He started the Anomalous Phenomena Research Center in 1999, trying to find a way to produce "The Crucial Demonstration", the goal of which is to demonstrate the reality of paranormal phenomena to mainstream scientists and the general public. In 2012, he began to transfer the records of his research into the paranormal to the University of Manitoba Department of Archives and Special Collections. He practiced calorie restriction and attributed his longevity to this.
Imich died on June 8, 2014 at 9:03 AM from natural causes at the age of 111.
The world’s oldest man, a New Yorker who attempted to flee the Nazi rise to power in Poland in 1939, died at the age of 111.
Alexander Imich held the title of world’s oldest validated man for just two months before his death on Sunday. While he was the world’s oldest man, there are 66 women who were older than him.
Imich was born in Czestochowa in southern Poland to a wealthy secular Jewish family, according to the New York Times. He said he was not allowed to join the Polish Navy due to anti-Semitism.
He and his wife were sent from Bialystok, Poland, where they fled after the Nazis rise to power, to a Soviet labor camp. When they returned to Poland after the war they discovered that many family members had died in the Holocaust. They immigrated to Waterbury, Conn. in 1951.
He told the New York Times in April that holding the record for world’s oldest man is “Not like it’s the Nobel Prize” and that “I never thought I’d be that old.” He said he never drank alcohol. He and his wife, who died in 1986, never had any children.
Imich willed his body to the Mount Sinai Medical Center for study.