The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfrid Israel

The story of Wilfrid Israel was known to the most influential figures of the 20th century. In the memorial book that was published a year after his death, one can find the names of Albert Einstein, Martin Buber, Chaim Weitzmann, Lord Herbert Samuel, Moshe Sharet and many more. All praised his figure and rescue efforts. Yet his story remained untold.

Our mission is to ensure that Wilfrid Israel’s story is told, and that his legacy and universal values are passed on to future generations.


The film tells the remarkable story of Wilfrid Israel – a wealthy Jewish businessman and owner of Berlin’s largest department store in the 1930’s, who was involved in the saving of tens of thousands of Jews, and played a key role in the Kindertransport operation. Israel was a member of one of Germany’s most prominent Jewish families and acquainted with some of the most influential figures of the 20th century, yet little is known about his personal life and heroic endeavors. Why did his story remain untold?
What was there to hide?
The mysterious story becomes personal as filmmaker Yonatan Nir takes us on an adventure in search of this extraordinary man, and the real reasons for his disappearance from history.

About the Director

Award-winning filmmaker Yonatan Nir has been telling stories for over a decade – from epic photojournalist reports, to the critically acclaimed Dolphin Boy (2011) which was acquired by Disney Pictures and screened in over 130 film festivals, he successfully captures and portrays unique
relationships formed between man and nature. Nir’s newest film – My Hero Brother (2016), won the Best Documentary Film Award and the Audience Choice Award at the prestigious Santa Barbara International
Film Festival. Nir is also a highly demanded speaker and film professor, and has given over 500 lectures
in Israel and around the world.


Film Type

Film Length
1 hour 22 minutes

Yonatan Nir

Ophir Baer and Ilan Baer

Noam Shalev

Yoav Kleinman

Tal Brog

Naomi Shepard

Watch the Trailer