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Israel, Wilfred (1899-1943): papers (microfilm)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 548
Held at: Wiener Library
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Full title: Israel, Wilfred (1899-1943): papers (microfilm)
Date(s): 1936-1943
Level of description: collection
Extent: 2240 frames
Name of creator(s): Israel | Wilfred | 1899-1943


Administrative/Biographical history:

Wilfrid Israel, born in London in 1899 to an English Jewess and a German Jew, enjoyed a very privileged existence growing up in Berlin, where he inherited the family business, the famous N. Israel department store, with its 2000 employees. Whilst conforming to family expectations, he entertained interests in socialist Zionism, pacifism and internationalism. During the war years he became a secret intermediary, the confidant of such major figures as Chaim Weizmann and Albert Einstein, as well as hundreds of others, for whom he was able to arrange escapes, on account of his dual nationality and familiarity with Gestapo extortion techniques. On a return flight from Portugal in 1943, where he was effecting the rescue of more Jewish refugees, he died when his plane was shot down by German fighter aircraft.


Scope and content/abstract:

Copies of original essays, memoranda and private papers, 1936-1943, covering such subjects as the Weimar Republic, the rise of National Socialism, German Communist and Socialist parties and trade unions, and the Jewish refugee problem. Also a fairly comprehensive collection of the 'Political Group Papers' (1941-1943) from the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Committee on Reconstruction.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English German

System of arrangement:


Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Finding aids:

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue

Archival Information

Archival history:

The papers in this collection relate to Wilfred Israel's activities as a confidential adviser on Jewish affairs at the Chatham House war-time research unit in Oxford.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Israel family

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Shepherd, Naomi, Wilfred Israel: German Jewry's Secret Ambassador, (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1984).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry compiled by Howard Falksohn.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
October 2007

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