Not a great deal of archival material about Wilfrid Israel has survived but, with the aid of photographs, a few documents, eyewitness interviews, and archival material relating to the rise ...
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Not a great deal of archival material about Wilfrid Israel has survived but, with the aid of photographs, a few documents, eyewitness interviews, and archival material relating to the rise of the Nazis, Yonatan Nir and his colleagues have created a fascinating picture of a man who was driven by his determination to save as many lives as possible. He saw the writing on the wall long before the great majority of German Jews and decided to use his great wealth for the rescue of as many people as possible. For example, he provided the finance for the creation of a children's settlement in Palestine, helped hundreds of his employees to emigrate (paying them two years' wages!), and not only inspired the Kindertransport movement but supported the operation financially.
Fascinating document about an almost forgotten hero
The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfrid Israel is a documentary directed bu Yonatan Nir. Wilfrid Israel was one of the richest men in Germany. He was the owner of the largest department store in Berlin. When the Nazis came into power, he arranged to have all of his Jewish employees sent to England, thereby saving their lives.
Israel was the key player in the Kindertransport. We can only imagine what it was like for the parents to send their children to England while they were forced to stay behind. However, these brave people knew that destruction was imminent. At least they were secure in the knowledge that their children wouldn't die in the Holocaust.
Wilfrid Israel was described as a secretive man, which probably helped him in his work. However, this made it difficult for director Nir to compose a full-length biography. By bringing together some photos, some films of the Kindertransport, and some interviews, he was able to give us a memorable film.
We saw this movie at Rochester's excellent Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman Museum. It was shown as part of the outstanding Rochester Jewish Film Festival. It will work on the small screen. Find it and watch it!
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