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Kindertransport survivor celebrates 100th birthday in Jerusalem

Walter Bingham, the world's oldest working journalist, escaped Germany in 1939, fought in the British Army and made aliyah at age 80.

Kindertransport survivor Walter Bingham celebrates his 100th birthday in Jerusalem, Jan. 4, 2024. Credit: International March of the Living.
Kindertransport survivor Walter Bingham celebrates his 100th birthday in Jerusalem, Jan. 4, 2024. Credit: International March of the Living.

Kindertransport survivor Walter Bingham, recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest living working journalist, celebrated his 100th birthday in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Born Wolfgang Billig in 1924 in Karlsruhe, Germany, Bingham escaped Germany after Kristallnacht in 1939 by way of the Kindertransport, which sent nearly 10,000 unaccompanied children, most of them Jews, from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Free City of Danzig to Great Britain.

Bingham served in the British Army, earning honors for rescuing soldiers in the Normandy Landings. He later worked as a translator, including interrogating former Geman Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop.

Following the war, Walter became a journalist and launched an acting career, landing a role as a wizard in two Harry Potter movies.

Today, living in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, Walter is a proud father, grandfather and great-grandfather and an enduring symbol of resilience, the International March of the Living Holocaust education NGO said.

“Persecuted as a child by the Nazis, he became a decorated fighter against the German army, immigrated to Israel at 80, and remains active from his home in Jerusalem,” March of the Living deputy CEO Revital Yakin Krakovsky noted.

“We are privileged to work with him in promoting Holocaust education and remembrance and we look forward to marching together on Holocaust Remembrance Day in Poland this year and for many more years to come, she added.

Bingham said he “always felt a deep connection to the Jewish people and our homeland.

“I could never have imagined that at the age of 100, I would be a witness to the horrific pogrom against Jews that took place on Oct. 7 and the terrifying resurgence of antisemitism since,” he continued.

“As I celebrate today, I also pray for the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” Bingham said.

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