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Israel, Wilfrid (1899-1943): Correspondence

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 1514
Held at: Wiener Library
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Full title: Israel, Wilfrid (1899-1943): Correspondence
Date(s): 1937-1943
Level of description: collection
Extent: 1 file
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 fighters.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Wilfrid Israel, 1937-1943, comprise correspondence from Wilfrid Israel to Diana Hopkinson. The last letter in this collection makes reference to the immanent ill-fated trip to Lisbon, where the Jewish Agency had asked him to assist with refugee work.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in chronological order.

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:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited by Diana Hopkinson.

Allied Materials

Related material:

WL 548

Publication note:

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:
March 2008

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