In an emotional meeting this week, 100-year-old Kindertransportee Walter Bingham met 100-year-old Auschwitz survivor Lily Ebert at her London home.
Bingham, the oldest living journalist, was visiting from Israel to speak at a variety of events for March of the Living UK that included two fundraising dinners and the film premiere: ‘MOTL – Journey of Hope: Retracing the Kindertransport after 85 Years’.
The film is the remarkable story of three Kindertransport survivors, Walter Bingham (100), Paul Alexander (85), and George Shefi (92), who retraced their journey last October to mark 85 years since they courageously fled Germany – without their parents – following Kristallnacht.
Walter, who lives in Jerusalem, said: “The past is gone. We mustn’t dwell on it. But if you don’t know the past you can’t make the future any better. I often get asked what the difference is between what happened then and today’s situation in Israel. There are several differences but for me the most important difference is that the Nazis were hiding what they were doing, they did it all in secret and nobody knew.
“Today’s terrorists are very proud of what they are doing, and they are showing it. That is a remarkable difference. What [can] we do against it? We can educate, speak to people, schools. Talking to people about what it means and the consequences of their actions and hope that they will learn from it.”
Lily Ebert MBE said: “Walter and I are both centenarian Holocaust survivors. We are members of a community that we did not want to be a part of or choose to be a part of – the Holocaust survivor community. We have to live, every day, with the pain of what we went through. We share that understanding, and it is for that reason that meeting the inspirational Walter was so special.”
Scott Saunders, founder of March of the Living UK, said: “At the essence of the March of the Living mission is the sentiment that, when you hear a witness, you become a witness. We were privileged to spend time in the company of two of our most influential survivors and witnesses – Lily Ebert MBE and Walter Bingham. Lily and Walter not only bring together two hundred years of life but decades of Holocaust education that has ensured future generations will be witnesses to the atrocities of the Holocaust too.”
Lily Elbert, 100, was 20 years old when she was deported from her hometown in Hungary to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Her mother, and younger sister and brother were killed by Nazis in gas chambers. She was appointed an MBE in the 2023 New Year Honours for services to Holocaust education.
Walter Bingham, 100, holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest-living journalist. Aged 15, his mother put him – her only son – on a train to England as part of the British Kindertransport effort that saved the lives of more than 10,000 mostly Jewish children. During this time, his father had been arrested by the Nazis and murdered in the Holocaust. His mother, on the other hand, survived the camps and was eventually reunited with Walter, who moved to Israel in 2003 at the age of 80.
Click here to view the film Journey of Hope.
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