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Wilfrid Israel, Holocaust Hero

Hosted By: Sousa Mendes Foundation

Wilfrid Israel, a Berlin department store magnate and art collector, was German Jewry’s “secret ambassador” to England from 1938-43. He worked with the British diplomat/spy Frank Foley, Righteous Among the Nations, to secure life-saving British visas for thousands of German Jews and was the “essential link” in the establishment of the Kindertransport operation. He also was a key benefactor of the Youth Aliyah movement and was a co-founder of Kibbutz Hazorea. Time and again, he had opportunities to remain safe in England or Palestine, and yet he kept going back to Germany to rescue more Jews. On his last rescue mission, Wilfrid Israel was shot down by the Wehrmacht over the English channel. Albert Einstein said of the businessman, “Never in my life have I come in contact with a being so noble, so strong and as selfless as Wilfrid Israel.” A fascinating and multilayered life!

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