Walter Bingham talks about his remarkable life, including making Alayah at 80, and escaping Germany on the Kindertransport.

Walter Bingham
Walter Bingham

Paul: Walter, how old are you?

Walter: Well, I suppose I should say 93 but in a couple of months, if God gives me, I shall be 94.

Paul: I understand that you are the world's oldest talk show host?

Walter: Yeah I have the Guinness World Record of oldest radio talk show host in the world.

Paul: Did you get a certificate for that?

Walter: I have a certificate yes, it's a very imposing one and I have a photograph on the wall here with the President of Israel holding the certificate. I am waiting to get an interview with him but it hasn't come off so far.

Paul: How many shows do you make a week?

Walter: I work for three radio stations, one I have been working for since before I came to Israel, which is nearly 14 years and that is Israel National Radio or Israel National News. I do one a week for them, 52 minutes. I also, since a year and a bit, broadcast for a news station called Israeli News Talk Radio, that is a Fox News affiliate and they get 40 minutes a week. The first programme I told you about is also heard on a small Jewish station in Melbourne, Australia.

Paul: Have you never thought about retiring?

Walter: Sorry what did you say? What does that mean? Look if I sit in a rocking chair I'll die, occasionally I have to get away from the computer because I do my own editing and everything else. But eventually I have to get away from the computer and sit on my chair which rocks a bit and I watch TV and then I fall asleep. I am determined that that's not going to be my life.

Paul: You made Alayah (moved to Israel), how old were you when you moved to Israel?

Walter: I came when I was 80 and it was very interesting because I had previously done some work for Israel National Radio, for Channel 7. It's of course now all on the internet, it used to be live and people call in, but now it's all on podcast. I did some work for them before I came and they said, well why don't you do a 10 minute slot for us? You're preparing to emigrate, to make Alayah as they call it, why don't you tell us what you have to do to prepare for it? I mean there is so much to do when you leave your home which has been for 60 odd years, and I did that and told them what I was doing every week.

Then when I came they said "you're really here?" Now why don't you do three more programmes, three more weeks about how you find all your documents and how you're settling in Israel? I did that and I must tell you that they told me in England, the offices of immigration for Israel, that I should take a very thick book if I go to the Ministry of Interior here to try and get my papers because it's a long wait. I was in and out of there in 30 minutes so that was one good thing, and then they said "well you know in Israel you have to have sharp elbows because people are very rude, and they push you around and you can't get on a bus." That used to be many years ago and I found that everybody was very helpful, I couldn't say a bad word about my experiences when I first came. In fact in a supermarket I couldn't read the stuff, I couldn't know which is which and what is what, and I asked people and they helped me and said "anything else I can help you with?" So everything was very nice, very friendly and I am settled in and happy here and it's the best thing I ever did in my life.

Paul: Was it difficult leaving Great Britain and coming here at 80 years old?